JWA volunteer Iris wins national award

By Manny Robinson

IRIS TAYLOR, a Redbridge-based volunteer for Jewish Women’s Aid (JWA), has won the Unsung Hero Award at the national Third Sector Awards ceremony.

The 81-year-old member of Cranbrook United Synagogue has been a loyal, committed and inspirational volunteer for 30 years.

Iris is responsible for co-ordinating the volunteer rota for the Jewish Women’s Aid helpline, which is open for 12 hours every day from Monday to Thursday. She ensures that all shifts are covered so that someone is available to support women affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Judy Roth, JWA’s helpline and volunteers co-ordinator, said: ‘’Iris is a truly inspirational volunteer who has worked tirelessly for our organisation. She provides a kind, gentle and patient approach and is in regular contact with all 40 of our helpline volunteers to arrange the rota, troubleshoot and offer them motivation and reassurance.

“This award for Unsung Hero recognises her outstanding achievements over three decades.’’

The Third Sector Awards were held at The Brewery in London before an audience of 600 people from all across the charity sector. The judges praised Iris as “an incredible person, who has devoted years of support to a cause she believes in.”

Iris, a former shorthand typist and secretary, has two children and three grandchildren. Her husband passed away 13 years ago.

She told the Essex Jewish News: ‘’I feel that this is an important volunteering role and I believe it is a mitzvah to do it.’’

The Jewish Women’s Aid’s helpline not only provides callers with someone to speak to but often acts as the gateway to access all of JWA’s services, enabling women to make decisions about their lives. Together with the organisation’s webchat service, the helpline service received 196 calls in the first half of 2022, equivalent to at least one contact every day that the services are open.

The confidential, sympathetic and non-judgmental helpline can be reached on 0808 801 0500. It is open Mondays-Thursdays 9.30am-9.30pm, with trained Jewish women there to support callers. Outside of these hours calls are recorded, monitored and responded to as soon as possible.

Iris Taylor (second from the left) with her award



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