Michelle Barnett

Michelle Barnett


Michelle is a true example of the valuesand ideals that GIFT aspires to. Having been educated at Haberdashers she tooka gap year to study at Brovender’s Seminary in Jerusalem before gaining anundergraduate degree in Psychology from Manchester, an MA in Social Work fromBrunel University and an MA in Psychotherapy and Counselling from RegentsCollege.

Michellewas GIFT’s very first employee, brought onboard by R’ Naftali Schiff who wasinspired to start GIFT in order to enable and facilitate young people inthe community to be more giving.

GIFTstarted from Michelle’s kitchen table in 2004, gathering excess bread frombakeries each week and redistributing it to struggling families whilstcontinuing her work as a probation officer.

18years later that passion has created an organisation that has left an indeliblemark on the Jewish community.

Theopportunities and acts of giving that GIFT has created now rank in theirhundreds of thousands. Hundreds of families in need across the community havebenefited from the thousands of hours that GIFT’s army of volunteers havegiven, supporting them in numerous important ways, whilst GIFT’s educationalcurriculum teaches  & inspires giving across schools, universities& communities in London, Manchester & Israel.

Michellewas honoured for her work at GIFT in November 2022 receiving an MBE from KingCharles III . 

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the future

Rabbi Naftali Schiff has always been seized with this idea that I see as fundamental: that the impact we have through our programmes should not be transactional, but transformational. It shouldn’t be aimed at keeping the train on the track, it should be aimed at changing young people’s lives. Because that is how you really make a difference to the Jewish future.

Rabbi Lord Sacks zt"l