Based in London and Manchester, the Interlink Foundation was established in 1991 as a non-profit umbrella organisation for Orthodox Jewish charities and voluntary organisations and now has over 100 members. The purpose of the foundation is twofold: to support Orthodox Jewish voluntary organisations with advice, training, consultancy and information and to work with public sector organisations to increase their understanding of the needs of the Orthodox Jewish community and to improve services for them. The foundation's mission is to 'strengthen Orthodox Jewish community organisations and interests, improving access to services and achieving better outcomes for disadvantaged people' and 'to help community organisations gain new skills and access to resources, and to work in partnership with public bodies to tackle inequalities'. To achieve this aim, Interlink offers a wide variety of services both to its members and to those who wish to use its resources to better understand the orthodox community.
Members can access consultancy from Development Workers and other professionals at Interlink with advice on areas such as financial management, funding applications and governence being offered. Additionally Interlinks runs regular training courses for Orthodox Jewish voluntary groups which are normally free of charge and cover vital topics such as Child Protection and Customer Care. Members also receive Interlink's monthly mailings (by post or email) which include funding information and other charity news as well as e-bulletins with more urgent information.
As the voice of Orthodox Jewish voluntary organisations, vis-à-vis public sector bodies Interlink carries out the following work:
• the collection, commissioning and storage of data and statistics about the Orthodox Jewish community.
• the promotion of the needs of the Orthodox Jewish community to key policy makers in local authorities and other public bodies
• sitting on partnership boards where decisions affecting the Orthodox Jewish community are made.
By doing the above, Interlink and its members try to identify areas of inequality in service and provision and then campaign for change.
The Orthodox Jewish/Charedi community is highly visible yet often it is misunderstood, it has developed its own network of social care, educational and training organisations and its own inward business to serve the needs of its members. In order to increase understanding of the community, Interlink runs cultural training sessions for statutory agencies, the wider voluntary sector and other partners. 'Understanding the Orthodox Jewish Community' is an interactive training based on frank, open dialogue with participants and is adapted to the particular needs of each client. The sessions cover aspects of the community that include, origins, groupings, the Torah, the Jewish calendar, the Sabbath and Kosher food. Training also looks at how the Jewish community can build relationships with mainstream agencies.
Interlink has themed networks of senior officers in public sector organisations and representatives of community organisations known as 'strategy groups'. These groups meet quarterly and promote collaboration between public sector departments and voluntary organisations serving the Orthodox Jewish community. They provide a space for addressing inequalities and problem-solving in a positive atmosphere.
As part of its charitable work, Interlink also administers a fund on behalf of the Jewish Association for the Physically Handicapped (JAPH) to assist people who are unable to obtain funding from other sources.
In recognition of the positive work that Interlink does, the organisation has received a number of awards including the prestigious London Compact Award for innovative partnership working, which they received in conjunction with the Adult Services department of Hackney Council at a City Hall ceremony in 2008.
The Interlink Foundation
Lower Ground Floor Offices
124 Stamford Hill