It has been a dream week for JLGB Chief Executive, Neil Martin, meeting HRH The Prince of Wales, not just once but three times to showcase the achievements of the JLGB and to top it off, collecting his OBE from His Royal Highness at Buckingham Palace.
Neil’s OBE recognises his inspirational vision, leadership and drive alongside his mission to give young people of faith every possible opportunity to be the best they can be, just as JLGB did for him.
JLGB, which this year is 122 years old and has gone through major changes since Neil took up the helm 12 years ago, modernising it to become a major national award winning charity.
Some of the phenomenal JLGB achievements spearheaded by Neil include: expanding kosher Duke of Edinburgh’s Award provision across the Jewish community; creating the evolve volunteering and skills initiative – launched by HRH Prince Edward and the Chief Rabbi; and pioneering JLGB’s Multi-faith National Citizen Service programme.
JLGB’s Royal week began with JLGB’s Redbridge Band collecting a Youth United Social Action Award at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, where they were given the added honour of playing at the Awards Ceremony in front of HRH The Prince of Wales.
The very next day, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited Yavneh College, where the social action undertaken by hundreds of pupils, both inside and outside the classroom was showcased. As it does all Jewish schools, JLGB works alongside Yavneh to provide an age-progressive framework of national awards through JLGB’s youth volunteering initiative, evolve, where over 6,000 young Jewish people have given back to society through the DofE, NCS, vInspired and Yoni Jesner Awards.
By Neil’s own admission, none of the milestones that have been achieved within JLGB under his leadership would have been possible without the dedication and support from the hundreds of volunteer leaders, the professional staff, trustees, Patrons, partner organisations and friends of the charity.
Read Neil’s blog about the week here.
Lord Michael Levy, JLGB President said: “I am absolutely delighted at the recognition for Neil and his OBE. I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone connected with JLGB in that Neil has been a truly outstanding leader and professional, and has done wonderful work for young people in our community and of other faiths in wider society. It is very special that he has been recognised with an OBE.”
Neil Martin said: “I feel truly humbled, I still can’t believe it and I keep thinking of all the people who supported me throughout my journey. I’m so grateful to them all, especially everyone at JLGB and, of course, my family. Every day is a different adventure finding new ways to inspire young people, which has enabled the JLGB to now benefit thousands of young people all over the country to participate in positive youth activities without their religious or cultural needs being compromised.”
Peter Westgarth, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award said: "I was delighted to see that Neil’s achievements had been recognised with the awarding of an OBE. His leadership of JLGB has inspired many more young people to do their DofE and this recognition is very much deserved."
Stephen Greene, Chair of NCS Trust said: “We were thrilled to learn that the Queen has awarded Neil an OBE. I can’t think of anyone more deserving. Neil has been tireless in his advocacy for Jewish youth. But, even more so for an interfaith NCS programme - that is now a smashing success. So many young people will benefit from the experience of doing their NCS programme with their peers from different backgrounds."
Charlotte Hill, CEO of Step Up To Serve said: "Absolutely amazing, I can’t think of anyone who deserves this recognition more than Neil. He’s really driven the youth social action movement within the Jewish community and has been a huge ambassador of the #iWill campaign since the beginning. I'm also personally delighted, he’s an awesome bloke to work with!"
Lindsay Levkoff Lynn, CEO Youth United Foundation said: “What a remarkable week for JLGB, showcasing the wonderful activities that take place across the country to HRH The Prince of Wales. We are so proud that JLGB are members of the Youth United Network and are playing such an active role in providing bands, weekly groups and social action opportunities within hard to reach communities. It is clear that Neil goes above and beyond in his quest to provide a positive future for Jewish youth. From his leadership as CEO to his dedication as the volunteer band leader, I am delighted that he has been recognised for his contribution to society with a much deserved OBE. What a perfect end to the Royal week for JLGB. On behalf of everyone at Youth United I would like to congratulate Neil on this fantastic achievement.”
Neil adds: “I am so proud of the achievements of the entire JLGB professional team, trustees and all our volunteers as we strive to help thousands more young people be prepared and succeed in a global digital world by helping them reach their individual potential and become the best possible versions of themselves.”
As well as supporting young people, Neil holds several other communal positions and is Chairman of Yom HaShoah UK, which organised the recent Holocaust commemoration ceremony. He also Chairs the Inter Faith Youth Trust.
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