A church with a heart for the community


Latest news from Helping Hands

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Vicky Irving Project Manager

Hello again!  - it doesn’t feel that long ago I was writing for last quarter’s magazine.  Time flies when you’re having fun…..

The charity continues to grow and evolve, building on the good work of our volunteers over the years and the partnerships we are making with other organisations to allow us to develop more activities and events aimed at improving the “wellbeing” of those accessing our services.

Friendship Club returned from the summer break on the 28th August and we’ve had some wonderful entertainment so far from Harmonise, Scott D, the Neilston Strings Ukulele Band and the Southside Community Choir; such variety!  There are lots more fabulous acts to enjoy before the Christmas break (the last session will be the 4th December 2018 and the Club will restart on the 15th of January 2019).  Our helpers and drivers do a wonderful job of making everybody feel welcome and comfortable; as ever, any extra helpers will be most welcome, so if anyone has a few hours to spare on Tuesdays please get in touch.

The “Blether and a Brew” continues to run on the alternate Tuesday afternoons to the Friendship Club.  It’s a relaxed, informal, café style get together with tea, coffee and treats.  Everybody is welcome, there’s no need to book, just turn up.  The Blether will miss a couple of Tuesdays over the Christmas period due to Public Holidays; our last 2018 session will be the 11th December and the first 2019 session will be the 8th January.

Our minibus needs more drivers!  It is well used by the Friendship Club but it would be lovely to see it being used for more activities, especially the Blether and a Brew.  If you might be able to help with this please do get in touch.

At the Lunch Club for People Living with Dementia volunteers have been experimenting with using technology as a way of engaging with our members.  iPads have been used for reminiscence and for helping to create art work, and the mobile TV has been used to link up to the Scottish Film Archive to view short historic videos on sport, ship building, Glasgow and other topics.  We have been sad to see some of our long- standing members leave the Club but happy to welcome some new faces.  

We are also delighted to have welcomed three new volunteers from Mearns Castle High School.  The Lunch Club would particularly benefit from some additional male volunteers, so if you are interested in helping out please get in touch.

We are also just about to commence (on October 26th) our first full 6 week block of visits to Mearns Primary School with members of our Lunch Club for People Living with Dementia and some of their family members.  This will now be a regular term time activity on Friday afternoons and will be offered to anybody joining the Lunch Club. The children will also be visiting the Club over Christmas to share songs and games with our members.  We appreciate all the hard work the school has committed to making this such an enjoyable and rewarding partnership.

The Eastwood Bereavement Group continues to provide an invaluable support for those experiencing loss, either recently or some time ago. The group meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 7pm and you will be made most welcome.

We continue to work in partnership with RAMH (Recovery Across Mental Health) and on Friday 28th September we co- hosted a Recovery Café with the theme of “Physical Activity”.  Attendees saw some interesting presentations about how physical activity can promote both physical and mental wellbeing, then invited to take part in some fun, low impact activities in the Main Hall.  This was followed by tea, cakes and lots of discussion. These events are run quarterly across East Renfrewshire so our turn to host again will not be until next year but we will give you plenty of notice! These are community events designed to promote mental wellbeing whilst helping to challenge the stigma around talking about mental health and as such are open to everybody. 

And for those of you interested in mindfulness, don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten, it’s just taken a little time to plan our next steps.  There will be  opportunities to get involved with mindfulness and similar activities in the very near future, so please keep an eye out for dates being announced. 

In September we partnered with staff from East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Services to hold a “Try A Tablet” taster session.  The activity was well attended and feedback was positive. We were able to use some of iPads purchased with monies from the East Renfrewshire Renewable Energy Fund, and some participants brought their own tablets along.  More dates for learning will be offered before the end of the year so please keep an eye out for advertising. Our thanks to Lynsey for her fun and friendly session delivery.

On the afternoon of 13th November we will be hosting a community Talking Point alongside East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership.  The Talking Points are an opportunity for people to talk to staff from social work or health care to access support, information or advice without having to go through the usual social work channels.  The Talking Point is open to all and is run on a drop- in basis. 

We are still keen to hear from anybody interested in helping out with a cancer support group. Currently there is no local provision for people      affected by the condition meeting and supporting one other, and the Rev. Joe Kavanagh has long recognised this need. If anybody has experience around supporting those living with cancer or would be able to be involved as a helper, please get in touch with either myself or Joe.

At the end of September we welcomed our new Volunteer Coordinator Laura Watts.  Laura has an extensive background in working with volunteers in a variety of settings and as such will be a real asset to our team.  She is based in the office at the halls alongside me and is currently available on Tuesdays, Wednesday afternoons and Fridays.  You can contact Laura on volunteeringmkhh@outlook.com. 

As always, a massive thank you to all our wonderful volunteers!  Our drivers, bakers, helpers, kitchen helpers and entertainers; we couldn’t do it without all of you.  You make such a difference to the lives of so many people in our community.  Laura and I are planning a Christmas get together for you all as a token of our appreciation and we hope to see lots of you there for mince pies and a natter; as soon as we have a date confirmed we will be in touch with you all.  We have been delighted to welcome several new volunteers over the last few months and have enjoyed getting to know them all; thanks for joining us on our journey. 

And we have a busy few months ahead, not least co- hosting the Christmas Big Lunch alongside Enable and the Self- Directed Support Forum.  Enable provide support to people with learning disabilities and their families, and the Self-Directed Support Forum provides advice and support to anyone thinking about starting or currently using their own social care package.  The event will be on Friday 7thA December from 11am to 3pm.  It will be a fun filled day, with lots of activities, entertainment, information and of course lunch; we hope you can come and join us. 

 With best wishes,

Vicky Attwood, Project Manager

Mearns Kirk Helping Hands   October 2018


P.S. The observant amongst you will notice my name has changed… after 5 years of marriage my passport finally says Mrs Victoria Attwood!)



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