Maccabi GB, Britain’s leading Anglo Jewish Sport, Health and Wellbeing Charity has announced a merger with the Kenton Youth Aid Trust charity. (KYAT) The merger will allow the development of a new national headquarters for Maccabi GB at the Kenton site owned and originally developed by KYAT over 40 years ago. The property was formerly the home of Kenton Maccabi, most recently known as Kulanu.
Maccabi GB took over the day-to-day management of the Kulanu Jewish Sport and Community Centre in January 2015. The 9,000 sq. ft. building incorporates a sports hall, large meeting spaces and conference facilities. The aim was to make the Kulanu Centre a hub for Maccabi GB Jewish Sport, Health & Wellbeing programmes and activities. Three years on, the center is regularly used for a wide range of communal needs including a nursery, workshops, indoor sports activities, meetings, presentations and a host of other events. It is also home to the Stand Up project, a spin off from the Streetwise Programme.
The centre has also been used for the preparation of Maccabi GB International teams attending the 2015 European Maccabi Games held in Berlin and last year’s Maccabi GB team that attended the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Maccabi GB continues to grow and develop and is now delivering in excess of 250 programmes each year. Last year over 45,000 people attended Maccabi GB programmes. The merger and the resulting acquisition of the building, gives Maccabi GB, who are celebrating their 80th anniversary this year, a national headquarters to further develop their reach and programming.
Maccabi GB Chairman David Pinnick said, “We have worked very closely and successfully with the KYAT trustees in keeping the Jewish flame burning in what was one of the most successful clubs in our movement’s history. When the opportunity was presented to us to consolidate that position by merging with KYAT and moving our offices to the site, our board were clear that this would be a significant moment in Maccabi GB’s glittering history. We will be completely refurbishing the building to ensure that the centre remains home to Jewish life for many years to come. We have spent 15 wonderful years at Shield House and will be sad to leave, but we are also excited at the prospect of moving to a building which will be our own home, designed to our specific needs. Undoubtedly this is the right move at the right time for Maccabi GB"
David Judah, Chairman of KYAT and his fellow Trustees are delighted with the merger. "Kenton has long been associated with the Maccabi movement since it first opened its doors some 40 years ago. It is fitting that the operations centre of the Maccabi movement in Great Britain will now be housed in the building that was once home to one of its leading clubs”. David added that he and the other KYAT trustees had been very impressed by the work Maccabi GB have delivered during their time at the building. “They are a professional organization with a dedicated and visionary leadership that has ensured Maccabi GB remains relevant to communal life and we are sure they will continue to do so. We are proud to be associated with them and this merger will provide a boost to Maccabi by giving them a long term base. It was always our wish that Jewish life continued in Kenton at a venue that gave so many of our youth a positive Jewish identity over several decades as a Maccabi Youth Club and as home to a number of guides and scouts groups. This is a perfect next step for the center”.
The redevelopment of the site will take some time and no date for the move has been finalised but planning has begun and work will commence shortly.