Bournemouth Jewish Social Centre

The Basics

Known until recently as the Day Centre, and still referred to as such by most of its customers, the Social Centre is open for business every Monday from 09:15 to 15:00 with the exception of Yomim Tovim and Bank Holidays, and is available to all members of the Bournemouth Jewish community.

For £6, guests are treated to a morning of socialising, discussion groups, cards, Scrabble etc. as they wish, enhanced by tea/coffee and biscuits. Lunch  consists of a kosher three-course fish meal about which comments vary from ‘very tasty’ to ‘delicious’. The afternoon is devoted to pre-arranged entertainment such as a film shows, guest speakers, music (both live and recorded) and quizzes.

The Centre is very friendly and welcoming and newcomers are quickly made to feel at home.

For further information including transport availability, please contact Mrs Hetty Freeman on            01202 558192      .


In January 1981 a meeting of all the Jewish Women’s Organisation in Bournemouth was held in Valerie & Frank Harris’s flat.  Having had an offer from the Bournemouth Reform Synagogue that a Day Centre could be held in their premises, it was agreed that Questionnaires be sent to everyone of retirement age to gauge the interest for this.  It was further agreed that the Day Centre would be held one day each week and in order to fit in with the Tuesday Friendship Club and Thursday’s Jacs, (both organisations now defunct) with other social meetings held on Wednesdays, Monday was the obvious choice.

At the meeting, each of the Women’s Organisations agreed to arrange for a team to cook a milky three-course meal, which meant that their team would only be called upon once in four/five weeks.

Doris Black volunteered to organise cultural events, a responsibility later taken over by Stella Markson.  Ruth Lesser was to be co-ordinator and has remained so to this day, and Herta Kammerling has been in charge of the kitchen since our inception.  We had so many keen volunteers:-  Madge Nissen, Vice-Chairman, whose husband bought a fridge-freezer for our use, our Welfare Officer Phyllis Grant, the late Louise Nicholls who was our first Treasurer, and so many others who willingly gave their time for the benefit of our Senior Citizens, including our wonderful drivers who bring people to the Centre and take them home again at the end of the day.

Tribute must be paid to Helena Greene who had worked for seven years to get this project off the ground.  It actually came to fruition seven weeks after that initial meeting and we opened on the 1st March 1981.  The lady (alas no longer with us) who had volunteered to cook that first meal, decided to base her catering on the prospect of 25 people turning up – we actually had 70 that first day!  The numbers were maintained at this high rate, which showed us that we were doing something right!

The late Florrie Kinzley complained to the Day Centre’s first Chairman, Jean Lurie, that there was a fault with the Day Centre – IT WAS ONLY HELD ONE DAY A WEEK!

Never let us forget that many of the people who attend the Centre, may not see anyone at all during the week, and some of them only socialise on a Monday because of the Day Centre.  Through natural causes and people moving to be near their children in other towns, our numbers have dropped, and we decided to change the name to the ‘Social Centre’ hoping that it would have a more friendly connotation.

Our thanks are due to the Bournemouth B’nai B’rith Women’s Lodge, who endeavoured to raise money for an independent building for the Day Centre.  When the Lodge folded, this money was handed over to the Day Centre and helps us to keep going, now that we are running at a loss.  Thanks are also due to the husbands of the volunteers, many of whom kindly donated generously to get the Day Centre up and running.

With grateful thanks to Councillor Mrs Anne Filer and Mrs Jean Lurie.