JLife caught up with The Fed’s new communications officer, Robert Marks.
Congratulations on your recent appointment at The Fed! How has it been?
It has been absolutely wonderful. The organisation is made up of the most dedicated people you could ask for and the place is full of energy. I’m still getting to grips with aspects of the job but there is a real sense of togetherness among the staff and everyone is keen to help.
How did you become involved in communications?
I’ve always loved working with language and I jumped at the opportunity to join an organisation with a brilliant reputation. My role is to implement The Fed’s communication strategy and promote its vision, mission, objectives and activities.
I had three fantastic years at Leeds Jewish Orthodox Youth (LJOY) and we left a lot of good friends behind. However, it was time for a new challenge and with my wife studying medicine in Manchester, it seemed obvious to move. We’re both Mancunians and although we do miss Leeds, it was like coming home.
How do Manchester and Leeds differ?
Though Leeds is a much smaller demographic than Manchester, there is a sense of togetherness and real community spirit. Everyone knows everyone and invariably what affects one family will affect another.
Manchester is a centre for Jewish life. There are entirely separate communities here and a broad spread of Judaism across the city.
The communities across Leeds and Manchester are very friendly and welcoming, and it is rewarding to have been part of both in professional capacities.
The Fed supports and cares for Jewish people in Greater Manchester. What makes the organisation a success?
The people: it’s that simple. Everyone is committed to overseeing and offering the best care possible. It’s one large family, and family looks after one another.
The fact that we are housed in what could well be the most magnificent facility in the country also doesn’t hurt. The Fed has undergone a total transformation in the last few years.
The Fed was awarded the QAVS, the highest award for a voluntary organisation recently.
It’s incredible and a justified nod to the work done by our volunteers. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is equivalent to an MBE for volunteer organisations.
It is equally important to remember the work carried out daily by our paid staff. Other awards, such as certifying Beacon Status for end-of-life care, being rated as ‘excellent’ by Bury Council, and achieving ‘outstanding’ for responsiveness by CQC (with an overall rating of ‘good’), gives you an idea of the calibre of our workforce.
What’s next for The Fed?
We’re working with Salford University to add a sensory sound system to the new Seaside Garden with the sounds of crashing waves, the fairground, children playing and seagulls overhead. We believe it will be the only one of its kind in the country.
In November, we are running a Bear Grylls Survival Academy, which will be overseen by Bear’s team of highly experienced instructors. Places are filling up well, so if you’re interested, get in touch!