The story of the Morris Feinmann Home, later to become Belong Morris Feinmann, has its roots in the refugee movement of the Second World War. As war clouds gathered in the 1930’s, some German Jews began to emigrate to England (as their forefathers from Eastern Europe had done before them, fleeing not from Nazis but from pogroms).
A group of refugees raised funds and started the Manchester Jewish Refugee Committee to help Jews flee from Nazi Europe and – most importantly for our story – to settle in Manchester. Under the early chairmanship of Morris Feinmann, who started a guarantee scheme, and the later dynamic leadership of Heinz Kroch, the group supported refugees in all sorts of ways and in 1947 bought a small house in Didsbury at 7, Amherst Rd. By this time, Morris Feinmann had died but his dream “to ensure the comfort and wellbeing of old and needy persons of the Jewish faith, particularly such of them who were refugees from racial or religious persecution” was realise by others. From such humble beginnings of this small house for seven people, the Morris Feinmann Home grew and developed.
It moved to larger premises on Palatine Road in and became a home for the elderly in “the community at large’, not just refugees. The home was run by volunteers, who dedicated many hours of their time, money, expertise and love to providing care and a home from home. The environment was always Jewish and the residents enjoyed kosher food, festivals and shabbat.
In later years, there was growth in the form of specialist dementia care and the building of apartments, Barfield House, for those who were not ready for full time care but who enjoyed the proximity and activities of the home.
By 2012, the original building was felt to be no longer “fit for purpose” and a partnership was sought to build a brand new home. Belong have become our partners and have constructed the new state of the art Belong Morris Feinmann village, catering for up to 72 residents. The trustees of The Feinmann Trust will work with Belong to ensure that the village retains its Jewish culture and ethos, so as to keep the ideals of the founders and “add life to the years” of the residents.
Honorary President of The Feinmann Trust.
In 2017, after 16 years of distinguished service as a Trustee and seven as Chair, Alan accepted the position of Honorary President of The Feinmann Trust. He was previously chairman of the Manchester Jewish Forum, which represents all Jewish welfare organisations in Greater Manchester.
Chair of The Feinmann Trust
Ian Paul is a property investor and joined the Board in 2011 to advise on property development and future strategies. Ian and Jonathan (qv) were the driving force in the partnership with Belong leading to the development of the new Village. Ian is a firm believer in supporting Jewish facilities across Manchester and is committed to promoting Belong Morris Feinmann to all members of the Jewish community who, he hopes, will fully use the facilities that it provides. Ian was appointed Chair of the Board in 2016.
Jonathan is a qualified doctor and lawyer and also has significant commercial experience. He was brought onto the Board in 2012, and, together with Ian Paul (see above) formulated and executed the closure of the old Home and the re-development of the site in partnership with Belong.
Helen ran her own community pharmacy and it was here she gained experience working with nursing homes. Helen was appointed a trustee of Morris Feinmann Home in August 2000. She served as chairman of the board of trustees from November 2003 to November 2009. She works to ensure that the Jewish religious and cultural character of Belong MFH is maintained.
Vanessa was Head of Learning and Development for a large national law firm. Her voluntary work includes sitting as a Magistrate and a member of their Advisory Board, as well as being a Trustee of CIAO, an organisation providing life coaching in prison. She joined the Board of Morris Feinmann Homes Trust in 2010 and sees her role in the new Village as a positive way of supporting the elderly amongst Manchester’s Jewish community.
Alan is treasurer of The Feinmann Trust. He is a Chartered Accountant with experience of the care sector. He is an elected council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales representing Greater Manchester.
Viv joined the Feinmann Trust in 2018. Her interest in Morris Feinmann began when her mother moved from Liverpool to the old home. Viv joined the social committee and became chair before moving on to be a trustee. Viv is also a magistrate of almost 30 year’s standing and is a chair of both the adult and youth bench.