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Sussex Jewish News
10 May 2021

Together We Protect: CST's Successful Fundraising Campaign in Brighton & Hove

This article by Winston Pickett was originally published in Sussex Jewish News magazine. Subscribe to Sussex Jewish News, the only Jewish cross-communal publication on the South Coast.
When a comprehensive history is written of how the UK’s Jewish communal organisations adapted, survived and even thrived amid the Coronavirus pandemic, a special chapter will need to be reserved for the Community Security Trust’s (CST) crowdfunding campaign held over the weekend of 27 February – 1 March 2021.

For during that brief window of opportunity, thanks to the wonders of WhatsApp, email, Facebook and phone calls, hundreds of CST donors, volunteers and communal partners reached out to their family, friends and members, succeeding in raising a staggering £4,183,449, exceeding its target of £3.5 million.

As CST CEO Mark Gardner explained in the run-up to the campaign, this was an unprecedented effort on behalf of the organisation that coordinates more than 2,000 fully trained security volunteers throughout the UK, 90 full and part-time staff with offices in London, Manchester and Leeds, along with a 24/7 security control centre with direct CCTV and radio feeds to many hundreds of communal buildings.

As someone who has been a ‘badge-holding’ member of CST in Brighton and Hove, I can attest that it has never been our modus operandi to tout the organisation’s role in any public relations way, save for being a visible presence at communal events when security is requested and doing our best to make the public feel safe.

Apart from reminding people of the need to be on the alert and to report antisemitic incidents – together with being permanently in recruitment mode to bolster our ranks – asking for support isn’t part of our usual remit. Traditionally that has been the job of CST’s head office, which raises a large chunk of its operational budget at its annual fundraising dinner every spring. But when Covid-19 hit, CST became the first major Jewish charity to cancel such an essential event.

With a second lockdown looming over the same period this year, we learned that CST would roll out a first-of-its-kind, ‘Together We Protect’ campaign that would go directly to the public.
CST’s ‘Together We Protect’ campaign film
The result? More than 7,000 donors, when the most CST has ever had in a year is 1,500. Over £4 million was raised, double the initial target... in Brighton and Hove alone, close to £6,500 was raised.
Having worked with and for CST for close to 20 years, this seemed to me to be an opportunity not only to gauge local support, but also to give the people who know us personally, a glimpse behind the curtain as to what makes CST as effective as it is because of its work with police, government, the media and on an educational level. As part of the ‘Together We Protect’ campaign, CST’s web site made all of that crystal clear, with quick, effective informational videos hosted by celebrities, MPs and experts alike.

The result? More than 7,000 donors, when the most CST has ever had in a year is 1,500. Over £4 million was raised, double the initial target, which was smashed in under 24 hours. In Brighton and Hove alone, close to £6,500 was raised – all from individual and grassroots efforts, all sent in with warm words of appreciation and thanks for our local efforts.

“It’s not often we’re able to see so demonstrably the depth of appreciation the Brighton and Hove community has for the work we do on the local and national level”, said CST Sussex regional head, Adam Style. “If we can rise to the challenge of turning this support into greater participation on a volunteer basis, then it will have been a truly successful outcome.”
By Winston Pickett. Subscribe to Sussex Jewish News for a magazine packed with local stories, interesting articles, recipes and more!