Manchester Maccabi: Engaging the Jewish community through sport

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Manchester Maccabi has had many ups and downs over the last few years. Charity Bank has stood by its side throughout.

Social Problem

While the benefits of exercise are well known, a quarter of us exercise for less than half an hour a week.[1] People often feel uncomfortable taking part in group sports, or struggle to access activities that interest them.

Solution

Maccabi engages the Jewish community through sporting, social, cultural and educational activities. The Manchester arm of the International movement was formed in the 1920s. To begin with, it rented spaces to play sports, but by the early 2000s, Manchester Maccabi was ready to take the next step. The charity built a sports & social club in the Greater Manchester borough of Prestwich. Built on a five-acre site it has an air-conditioned hall, lounge and bistro. Outside, there are a number of pitches for football and other games.

Loan

Manchester Maccabi built its sports club with the help of a £350,000 loan from Charity Bank back in 2006. Since then, Manchester Maccabi’s relationship with the bank has grown ever stronger. The club has had many ups and downs relating to the economy, competition from local venues, and other challenges. At one point, it was on the verge of closing. The flexibility offered by Charity Bank has been crucial in helping Manchester Maccabi to overcome all of the hurdles it’s faced. Charity Bank agreed that Manchester Maccabi could take payment holidays when it was really struggling. Once it was back on stable ground, the club was able to pay off a large portion of its loan early, with no hefty charges. And during 2020’s national lockdown, Charity Bank granted the charity a capital repayment holiday to ease pressure during the uncertainty.

Impact

Thanks to Maccabi, people in North Manchester can enjoy a wide range of sports, including netball, rounders, boxing, table tennis and self-defence. The club welcomes people from all faiths, cultures and backgrounds. Manchester Maccabi is not just about helping people to stay fit and healthy; it’s also about building and strengthening community spirit.

“The club has experienced huge ups and downs. Charity Bank have been fantastic throughout. They’ve been extremely flexible and have proactively worked with us to help us through. They used their expertise to suggest grants that we could apply for, and to help us create a new business plan. We’re in a good place now and becoming a viable, sustainable organisation. I think other banks might have taken a more clinical approach and decided to cut their losses. If that had happened, we might have had a very different outcome.”

Bernie Yaffe, Treasurer of Manchester Maccabi

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,000 loans totalling over £350m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.