When Joseph Levy (Joe) was diagnosed with vascular dementia in the 1980s, there was little support in the home for families affected by dementia. Using their first-hand experience of the lack of available help, Joe’s wife Ninot and daughter Jane brought people together to create a new service to support both families and carers of people with dementia.
Beginning with the creation of a training programme for those caring for the elderly, it soon became clear that a more focussed approach was needed. This led to the idea of a dedicated nurse to support family carers. ‘Admiral Nurses’ were named in memory of Joe, known as ‘Admiral Joe’ to many of his friends. In a similar way that ‘Macmillan Nurses’ support those with cancer, Admiral Nurses provide specialist dementia support.
The original Admiral Nurse project set up in 1990 at the Middlesex Hospital led to the launch of the Dementia Relief Trust (now Dementia UK) in 1995 in order to develop the nursing service. Jane chaired the charity’s board of trustees for ten years, supported at first by her brother Peter as Vice Chair. As well as core funding, JLF initially provided office space for the charity until it moved to larger premises.
Dementia UK currently supports 283 nurses, whilst predicting a total of 300 nurses nationwide by the end of 2020. The charity also operates a full time national helpline (staffed exclusively by experienced Admiral Nurses) to support families and carers of people with dementia.
Dementia UK is now recognized as a rapidly growing, successful national charity and is no longer dependent on JLF, although we retain links with the charity and Jane was appointed Honorary President on her retirement in 2015.
JLF’s financial support to Dementia UK (totalling £14.7m over 21 years) illustrates how we are prepared to invest in charities and issues for the long-term in order to create lasting change.
Cystic Fibrosis Trust (CF Trust)
JLF has provided financial and non-financial support to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust almost since it was established in 1964. Joe became a founder trustee and then Chairman of the newly formed Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust, after being introduced to a colleague whose young daughter had been diagnosed with CF. Over the years he also organised many fundraising events for the Trust, at the same time as running his own business and charitable foundation.
In 1976 Peter joined the Trust’s executive committee and in time became Vice Chairman, taking over the Chair after his father’s retirement in 1984. Funds for the Trust continue to be raised through an annual golf day, originated by his father, now organised and supported by Peter’s former company Shaftesbury plc.
JLF continues to support the CF Trust financially and otherwise. We provide funding to support the Trust’s Welfare Grants Fund, which help individuals with the additional costs of living with a serious medical condition. The Trust’s Joseph Levy Education Fund, which helps people with CF who are undertaking further education and career development, is both funded by JLF and administered by JLF staff at our office.
The CF Trust is a UK based national charity which funds ground-breaking research as well as offering improved quality of care and invaluable support to the 10,500 people with Cystic Fibrosis in the UK.