A NEW chairman is to take over at the helm of charity Jewish Care, which has centres in Woodford Bridge Road and Gants Hill.

Stephen Zimmerman has been appointed by the charity's board and will take over from Michael Goldmeier in June next year.

Mr Zimmerman, 56, has been a Jewish Care board member for the past four years and was responsible for the restructure of the charity's management in 2004. By the time Mr Goldmeier steps down he will have been chairman for nearly four years.

During this time the charity's work has been recognised at four national award ceremonies, endorsing Jewish Care's drive to be the best provider of health and social care services in the country.

Mr Goldmeier said: "Stephen is highly respected and his knowledge and understanding of our organisation makes him supremely placed to lead Jewish Care into a new phase in its history."

Mr Zimmerman was deputy chairman of Mercury Asset Management Group, where he worked for 27 years helping to build the UK's then largest fund management portfolio before the business was sold to Merrill Lynch.

From 2001 to 2003 Mr Zimmerman was chairman of the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer campaign.

Mr Zimmerman said: "It will be a great challenge being chairman of the largest health and social care charity in the Jewish community and I'm looking forward to it enormously.

"Running an organisation on which 7,000 people rely every week means we have to operate both as a business and as a charity. The importance of our work and its impact on people's lives cannot be underestimated.

"The next few years are going to be challenging for Jewish Care.

"Not only do we have to face the crucial task of securing sufficient funding but the face of social care is changing rapidly."