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As I write this blog I am on the way to Leeds to take part in a panel to judge the Participation Awards for the Children’s Society, of which I am a Trustee.  Each year, there are awards to celebrate how young people have motivated themselves to make life better for their peers and the communities in which they live.  I am looking forward to an inspirational day.  The awards ceremony is not until later in the year so, all today’s decisions will be kept closely under wraps!

The theme of community is one that we will be exploring this year on MHA Sunday as we encourage people within the Methodist community who support and follow us to think about ‘Who is my older neighbour?’.  It’s so easy these days, with our busy lives and somewhat unconnected communities, to miss the person who lives next door or down the street, who has become older, perhaps increasingly isolated and for whom community on a day to day basis is often just a community of one.  It wasn’t until I went through the pile of Christmas letters that come with the Christmas cards that have now all been taken down that I realised that one of my older neighbours was once again on her own, her grandson having moved out from living with her.  Returning her rubbish bin for her after collection day has now once again been added to my to do list each week – it’s not much, but it is a simple way of helping and hopefully being neighbourly.

Our fantastic Live at Home service reaches out to thousands of older people every week through lunch clubs, telephone calls, advice and guidance services and creates community to displace loneliness.  In this time of New Year Resolutions, I wonder what we can resolve to do?  Maybe to know our older neighbours and then to discover what they need and then to see if we can do something about meeting those needs.  Or it may be that we want to support MHA to do that on our behalf, by donating money or leaving a legacy to support our Live at Home services, so that MHA can reach even more people every year.  It may even be that we want to find a an hour or two a week to be a volunteer, to make tea, make phone calls, serve lunches or help in some other way.  If we are part of a church, perhaps we could help to make MHA Sunday this year not just a slot in a Sunday service, but a time for the whole church to think about what is neighbourliness in 2015 and how do we respond the call of Christ to not only love God, but love our neighbour as ourselves.

Whatever you do, can I encourage you to join me in not passing by on the other side of the road, but to be part of answering the ‘Who is my older neighbour?’ question.  If you would like to share some of the answers you find, I would love to hear from you - send your comments to enquiries@mha.org.uk.

Adrian Bagg

Chief Executive

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