Category Archives: News

MMHS resident boosts new Wesley book

MMHS resident Lord Griffiths of Burry Port has written the foreword for a new collection of writings by John Wesley.

Leslie Griffiths – a member of the House of Lords since 2004 – has officially endorsed Through The Year With John Wesley, a selection edited by Stephen Poxon.

RAW ENERGY

Published by Monarch, the book offers 365 daily readings from John Wesley. Leslie admitted he picked up the book with ‘some hesitation’ at first.

‘It’s a brave man who would take on the challenge of releasing the raw energy, tapping back into the mind-boggling and heart-warming ideas, which gave Wesley such a unique place in the gallery of great Christian thinkers and preachers of the past,’ he said.

‘But I need not have worried,’ Leslie added in his foreword. ‘Page after page brings illumination, inspiration, intellectual stimulation even to diehards like me. The generosity of spirit of John Wesley, “the friend of all and the enemy of none” is here displayed again and again.’

Through The Year With John Wesley refreshes and presents some of the theological and reflective writings of ‘The father of Methodism’, linked to Scripture verses and daily prayers.

LITTLE GEM

Each reading is from John Wesley’s prolific output as an intelligent and passionate writer. ‘This is a little gem of a book,’ said Leslie. ‘Day after day for an entire year, it will lift the spirits of 21st century men and women and equip them to face the challenges of today’s world.’

An MMHS resident since summer 2017, Lord Griffiths is Shadow Spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Shadow Spokesperson for Wales, and Opposition Whip in the House of Lords. (Photo of Lord Griffiths by John Lubbock, Communications Co-ordinator, Wikimedia UK)

Roof ‘n’ Roots brings it all home

The importance of feeling ‘at home’ comes across loud and clear in the latest edition of our regular newsletter Roof ‘n’ Roots.

Our lead story in the winter issue focuses on author and Society resident Revd Barrie Tabraham. He had a rocky road to retirement – but has now found a place of peace in his MMHS property. ‘I’ve never lived anywhere as nice as this,’ is how he described his Surrey home. MMHS are delighted to help Barrie and his wife Joan.

HANDY HINTS

There is also the announcement of our new service for your wellbeing. This is a special section of the MMHS website offering handy hints, practical tips and expert guidance on mobility and independence – with a growing range of downloadable resources.

Society resident Revd Dr Neil Richardson writes in Roof ‘n’ Roots about the idea of making God feel ‘at home’ and what that means in our day-to-day lives. ‘God is always more than willing to take up residence in both our hearts and our homes,’ says Neil, who is a past President of the Methodist Conference.

FIRE SAFETY

In addition, the newsletter offers updates on water hygiene tests, fire safety issues and customer satisfaction with repairs and gas servicing.

Roof ‘n’ Roots is sent out to all MMHS residents. But family and friends – along with supporting churches – are most welcome to receive a copy, too.

Please contact the Society and let us know if you’d like to enjoy this publication on a regular basis. We’d be very happy to send you our newsletter, as we share the stories of just some of our remarkable residents.

A new service for your wellbeing

Handy hints, practical tips and expert guidance on mobility and independence are offered in our brand new service on wellbeing.

FREE RESOURCES

A wide range of subjects are explored in this innovative section – here on the MMHS website. There you can get access to resources on a wide range of issues concerning mobility and independence. And many of those resources are free:

– a guide on how to choose the right mobility scooter;
– advice from Which? on how to arrange respite care;
– NHS guidance on keeping warm in the winter;
– an online map to find your local community transport provider;
– a free service for wheelchair users;
– a guide on keeping safe and driving for as long as possible.

USEFUL HANDOUTS

The ‘wellbeing’ section is growing all the time, as we are constantly researching and adding useful handouts and weblinks to the list. We are in contact with a range of other agencies who supply us with news on the latest developments in the area of wellbeing.

Keep visiting our website for wellbeing guidance, regular news, residents’ stories and the online versions of Roof ‘n’ Roots.

Share your story of caring

How do you – or a carer you know – support someone living with dementia? The organisers of National Dementia Carers’ Day – which took place on 10th September – want people to share such stories.

GREAT SUCCESS

NDCD was ‘a great success’ on social media, the organisers told us. A number of guest bloggers submitted content. Unfortunately, individual stories were small in number. However, NDCD are still interested to hear people’s stories and share them.

As many of us have experienced, caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges. Perhaps you can share what it means to be a carer. National Dementia Carers’ Day (NDCD) say all submissions will be read and may be shared as part of their work.

The day is an annual event, and the hope is that NDCD 2018 will be bigger than ever. The initiative is founded by a coalition of partners – SweetTree Home Care Services, Dementia UK and Alzheimer’s Society.

GOD MEMORIES

Quite separately from NDCD, over recent years a number of resources have been produced by various organisations, looking at dementia from a faith perspective. These include:

Dementia: Living In The Memories Of God by John Swinton (William B Eerdmans, 2012);
Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything by Sally Magnusson (Two Roads, 2014);
First Steps To Living With Dementia by Simon Atkins (Lion, 2013);
Creating Church At Home: For Older People Living With Dementia by Patrick Coghlan (Kevin Mayhew, 2016);
Dementia: Pathways To Hope by Louise Morse (Monarch Books, 2015);
Prayers For Dementia by Fay Sampson (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2017).

‘When you’re caring for a loved one with dementia the world can be a very lonely place sometimes,’ said Nicki Bones from SweetTree Home Care Services. ‘Raising awareness is vital if we’re to build dementia-friendly communities.’ For more information and to share your story about living with dementia, visit here.

Make your gnome with us

A president, a dean and a superintendent walked into a room. No, this isn’t the start of a joke. They were among winners of our fun competition that urged people to ‘make your gnome with us’ at the Methodist Conference in Birmingham.

LIGHT RELIEF

Youth President Elect Michael Pryke, Superintendent of Wolverhampton Circuit Revd David Lavender and Assistant Dean of Nazarene College Revd Louise Kenyon each won a ‘paint your own gnome’ kit at the MMHS stand, which was designed to look like a garden.

The competition title was a play on the Society’s slogan, ‘Make your home with us’. Other winners were Revd Gill Baalham of the North Bedfordshire Circuit and George Dixon-Gough, ONE Programme Development Officer at Cliff College. George brought his team of interns to our stand for his prizegiving (pictured).

The aim was to offer representatives light relief between Conference sessions. Entrants had to use their creativity to ‘gname the gnome’ at the Society’s stand, which was a bright feature in the exhibition hall. But people engaged with our team for more than just a humorous competition.

SHARED STORIES

Other visitors to our stand included – ministers who wanted to discuss their retirement options, Society residents who enquired about repairs and alterations on their existing homes, church members who were keen to offer financial support to MMHS, and others who simply wished to encourage us in our ministry with positive feedback and comment.

One visitor said he had just helped one of our residents move into their new home. The place had been renovated so well, the tenant didn’t recognise it. ‘Well done,’ his friend told us. We also held a fringe event where Society staff and board members shared stories about their work with MMHS and talked about music which had inspired them in their lives.

Scupper the scammers

Scammers who try to swindle pensioners across the UK have started to target Methodist ministers and widowed spouses.

An 86-year-old widow recently reported one such fraudster to the Methodist Ministers’ Pension Scheme. A caller had phoned her, claiming to be from the Methodist Church.

SUSPICIOUS CALL

They knew she was receiving a pension, and also offered to help her with her computer. But their target was not an easy one. ‘The call was suspicious,’ she said, ‘and my guard went up straightaway.’

The widow hung up and promptly reported the incident to the pensions team at Methodist Church House. She shared the phone number from where the call originated.

Her quick thinking alerted the pensions team. They responded by checking the number on the web. They found numerous other people had been targets of this scammer.

‘Be aware of and disregard scam calls claiming to be The Methodist Ministers’ Pension Scheme,’ said MMPS Pensions Administrator Tony Pritchard. ‘We wouldn’t ask for any bank account details over the phone.’

SIMPLE GUIDELINES

There is plenty of advice on the internet on how to deal with scam calls. MMPS and the housing society suggest the following simple guidelines:

– beware of any unexpected or ‘cold’ calls about your pension;

– disbelieve cold calls about transferring any or all of your pension;

– if pensions advice sounds too good to be true, it usually is;

– never give your bank details or personal information to a cold caller;

– should you become suspicious about any such call, hang up and check with the pensions team or housing society at Methodist Church House.

The Pensions Regulator has issued important advice on this issue. Read all about it here. (This article is the full version of a story that appears in the spring 2017 edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots.)

Meena promotes meaning of pensions

meena pic 3 - 1Pensions are big news – so they must be important. That’s the conclusion of the Methodist Church’s new pensions team manager Meena Tooray.

MMHS and Meena’s team assist each other where they can in a spirit of mutual support, as they serve retired ministers. When MMHS spoke to Meena about this article, she was compiling the annual Members’ Report.

MAKING AWARE

‘Pensions is a complex subject,’ said Meena. ‘But our people are quite well educated by us.’

Her team send out various communications through the year. They also make sure their contact details are highlighted on their webpage. In an age of costly consultants – and even more costly scammers – accurate information is vital.

‘It’s about making people aware we are here,’ Meena explained, ‘and there’s no charge for talking to us.’

They keep members informed about changes in legislation. That means they rely on members to keep them informed about changes of address. ‘It’s about maintaining communication,’ Meena explained.

Meena looks after the day-to-day operation of the Church’s pensions, which are paid to ministers and lay employees. That includes co-ordinating trustee meetings, ensuring everything runs according to rules and keeping all data up-to-date.

She has more than 20 years’ experience in pensions. A qualified mathematician, Meena joined the industry when banking and finance were respected.

THOROUGHLY ENJOYED

Meena started work in the 80s with no idea what terms like ‘superannuation’s’ meant. ‘I found it really interesting,’ she said. One of her first jobs was based near St Paul’s Cathedral. Her office window gave Meena a bird’s eye view of Prince Charles’ and Lady Diana’s wedding.

Since then, Meena has worked for such corporate giants as Capita and major charity Family Action. At one point she ran no fewer than 13 schemes. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed it,’ said Meena. ‘You have to enjoy what you do. And it’s been very rewarding.’ (This article is the full version of a story that appears in the spring 2017 edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots)

How to cope with a kitchen refit

sharp kitchen 4 - 1Treat it as a holiday. That’s the secret to coping with a kitchen refurbishment, according to a couple of Society residents.

Revd Chris and Deacon Marian Sharp faced a future with a weary, worn-out 1990s kitchen at their MMHS home in East Anglia. Units were tired, surfaces scuffed and a dishwasher leak left a musty smell.

NO STRESS

In addition, a stroke had left Marian disabled. It became difficult for her to make meals with the existing layout. They told the Society about their crumbling kitchen, and found out it was beyond the normal 20-year lifecycle.

‘The Society said they’d help, but we should get an assessment of Marian’s needs,’ said Chris. ‘We’d also have to make a contribution because of our equity share. We were happy with that.’

With guidance from Maintenance Manager Glenn Fry, the Sharps sorted the paperwork, selected a design with kitchen firm Howdens, and chose a contractor. ‘Within six weeks of the initial contact, the fitters were at work,’ said Chris.

The couple set up a makeshift kitchen in their dining area with microwave, kettle and bottled water. They slept at home, but spent afternoons at a nephew’s house nearby. ‘We didn’t find it stressful at all,’ Chris explained.

NO FEAR

The refit took just a week, leaving a new kitchen well in time for Christmas. ‘The contractors were brilliant,’ Chris recalled. ‘They bent over backwards to make sure we weren’t without water or electricity for very long.’

What advice can the Sharps offer to those cautious about the upheaval of a kitchen refurb? After all, the kitchen is more than just a place to prepare food. It’s the centre of a home, where family and friends are fed and entertained.

‘Don’t be afraid,’ said Chris. ‘Everyone is very helpful. Make simple alternative arrangements with your microwave and kettle. Go out for a meal or two. Treat it as a holiday.’

Storm Doris had her day

Doris caused such a storm, residents were still phoning the Society five days after the ‘weather bomb’ hit Britain and Ireland. But MMHS householders appear to have escaped the worst of it.

Shattered fences and broken roof tiles were the reasons why residents across the country called or emailed the Society – after gusts of up to 100mph had struck their homes.

REPAIR FENCES

‘Storm Doris raged up and down the country on the Thursday,’ said Reactive Repairs Co-ordinator Patricia Berry. ‘The next day, householders phoned us with reports of broken fences, asking for advice on what to do next.’

Most calls were about typical damage. Some people discovered they had ‘party fences’, which is not unusual. In such situations the repair costs are shared by owners of properties on both sides of the fence.

‘Some residents lost a few roof tiles here and there,’ said Patricia, ‘but there were no reports of debris causing injury. Some fences may have been getting old anyway, so this is an ideal opportunity to have them replaced.’

No trees came down on MMHS properties, as far as the Society knows. ‘One resident said they would get help to fix fence panels, so the Society wouldn’t have to pay labour,’ Patricia explained. ‘That was very thoughtful. But the main thing is that householders shouldn’t worry about it. It’s within the Society’s remit to repair any damaged fences or roof tiles.’

TAKE ACTION

Weather incidents happen every year, and MMHS respond accordingly. ‘If damage is bad, call a contractor and take appropriate action to make everything safe,’ said Patricia.

‘Then call the office at the earliest opportunity to report the damage and obtain advice on how to proceed. We want to encourage residents we are here to help. If you’re unsure, always ask.’ (Photo: Clive Price)

How to survive a bathroom refurb

It became a friendly neighbourhood joke to ask Joyce Peacock when would she cut the ribbon to celebrate her brand new bathroom.

That’s because Joyce is so delighted with work on her MMHS home near Bournemouth. ‘It’s been beautifully done,’ she said. Joyce had coped with vintage ablutions in her home for some time. Enough was enough – despite the disruption that replacing the bathroom would cause.

GO WITH IT

‘I was hesitant because I’m 84 – and it’s a lot of upheaval,’ she said. ‘But I had to do something about it.’ The Society replaced her retro restroom with an electric shower, low-level tray and screen, toilet, sink with vanity unit, tiling, handrails and safety floor. They also added a basin to a WC.

It was a few weeks’ work. But Joyce found the workmen ‘very nice and very respectful to me’, allaying her fears. ‘They did what they could to minimise the mess,’ she added.

Joyce has some advice to give other MMHS residents who may be reluctant about major works. ‘You need to go with it,’ she said, ‘rather than fretting about how long it’s going to take or how much mess it’s going to make.’

She realised there was a pattern to the project. ‘On the first day or two it’s exciting, and everything moves fast,’ said Joyce. ‘Then you get to the next stage, and you think, “Should I have gone for this?” But at the end of the work, it’s nice. You’re pleased with it.’

KEEP OPTIMISTIC

Joyce encouraged other residents to ‘keep optimistic’ with such refurbishments. ‘For days afterwards, I was going in to the bathroom, looking at it and saying, “Is this really mine?”’

Property Services Director Godfried Addo remembered how Joyce had ‘grave concerns’ about the project. ‘However, she’s now “over the moon” about the resulting improvement and its positive impact on her well being,’ he said.

‘And the property team feel flushed with success!’