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It was great to see nearly 1,500 people responding to our Strategy Survey in recent weeks and I’d like to say a big thank you. This is an exciting time for MHA and it was fantastic to see so many staff, relatives, residents and supporters wanting to help us to shape MHA’s strategy for the next 10 years.

As a new Chief Executive, soon to be joined by a new Chair of the Board, I think there is a recognition that now is the right time for MHA to look ahead and set out its ambitions for the future.

A 70 year track-record means that MHA has accumulated a wealth of experience and expertise, working to support a broad spectrum of older people, with widely differing needs.

From all the feedback we have had to date and our discussions, there are certain key things which define us as an organisation; our charitable ethos, Christian heritage and desire to ensure that we can support those who are disadvantaged, whether by loneliness, frailty or lack of financial means – these will all continue to be hallmarks of MHA.

Perhaps the strongest message from the feedback and discussions to date is that MHA should continue to be a values-driven charity – we are out to make a difference, not a profit. Our task by May 2015, is to develop a strategy that will ensure that we can continue to do this sustainably, delivering the support that we would wish for ourselves as we grow older to more older people than ever before.

We have a great foundation to build on:

Our Live at Home networks today serve more than 9,000 older people living in the community, providing volunteer-led grass-roots groups which offer social and leisure activities and prevent loneliness and isolation for those living on their own.

In our retirement housing we provide purpose-built accommodation (with or without care and support) to 2,000 older people – including those who are fit and active and those who need help to manage at home.

And in our care homes, which is where the MHA story began, today we support more than 5,000 people who through frailty or dementia are no longer able to care for themselves without help.

We are doing great work, supported by 7,000 fantastic staff and 4,000 wonderful volunteers, but the challenge to do more has never been greater for MHA. We need to innovate to deliver the best quality possible to the greatest number of older people. It’s vital that we’re guided by a clear sense of direction and this is what our strategic review is all about.

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