A church with a heart for the community


Update Autumn 2019

We continue successfully to work towards reducing isolation and loneliness and improving health and wellbeing with a variety of groups, activities and volunteering opportunities.

Helping Hands Hearts.png
Vicky Attwood


Over the summer months Mearns Kirk Helping Hands has been a bit of a “roadshow” due to the refurbishment of the halls.  Our groups have been made very welcome in their temporary homes and it has been business as usual, despite being spread across various venues.

The Friendship Club went out on a high with afternoon tea in Parklands.  The Club will resume on 10th September with the usual excellent syllabus which can be found elsewhere in the magazine.

Blether and a Brew continued over the summer on a fortnightly basis in Broom Church Halls and will continue throughout 2019 until 24th December; we will be using the new café space in the halls for this activity as soon as they reopen.  We will announce next year’s dates in the next magazine.

The Lunch and Social Club for People Living with Dementia have been based in Alberstlund Halls, but have been making the most of the summer months with lots of trips and outings. Volunteer Ian McClune did lots of the organisation for which special thanks are due.  Outings included a trip to Troon for fish and chips; a visit to Kelvingrove; a day at the Museum of Rural Life and a look around the City Chambers.  And the Club members and volunteers who have been involved with our intergenerational sessions at Mearns Primary School were also invited to the children nursery graduation in June; not a dry eye in the house!

The Cancer Support Group and Eastwood Bereavement Support Group continued their wonderful work kindly hosted by Mearns Parish Church Halls.  New members have been attending both groups and we are delighted that these invaluable resources are being used by those in our community who need them.

In partnership with East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust, we ran another 6 session “Tablets for Beginners” session in Newton Mearns Library; the course was fully booked and     participants enjoyed learning new skills; meeting new people and finding out more about what both the libraries and Mearns Kirk Helping Hands can offer.

Vicky and Laura ran a four session “Helping Hand for Wellbeing” course in the Asda Community Room in the Avenue.  The course covered eating for wellbeing; thinking for wellbeing; moving for wellbeing and getting involved with your community for wellbeing.  Feedback from participants indicated that people felt their confidence improved and they started to think more positively.

Those who attended the Christmas BigER Lunch in December last year will remember what a wonderful day we had in the Halls.  Vicky and Laura have continued to be involved with the planning committee for BigER Lunch events. The latest of which was held in June at the Neilston Bowling Club. 160 people attended; 12 local organisations (including MKHH) gave short presentations about the services they offer.  Lunch and fabulous entertainment, including “Britain’s Got Talent” finalist Edward Reid (who brought the house down!) was also on offer and an informative, fun filled day was had by all!

So, what do we have planned for the autumn?  First and foremost, we are looking forward to getting back into the beautiful new halls.   It will be very exciting to see what it looks like when the work is all complete!

On 20th September we have organised an Information and Advice Lunch, to be held in Fairweather Halls, from 11am   to 2.15pm.  Speakers will include TSB Bank giving information about protecting yourself against banking fraud; the East Renfrewshire Council Prevention team discussing protection against nuisance calls, letters and emails and making your home safe.

Also attending on the 20th Sept is a benefits specialist from  Glasgow’s Golden Generation (formerly Glasgow Older People’s Network) to talk about ensuring you, your family and anyone you may care for are getting all the welfare support you are entitled to.  A sandwich lunch, tea and coffee will also be provided.  It’s free of charge, but please let us know if you would to come along so we can make sure there are plenty of sandwiches!  Contact details are at end of this article.

On Friday 4th October to 15th November, 10am to 11.30am, we will be running another “Tablets for Beginners” course in Newton Mearns Library.  Even if you don’t have a tablet—don’t worry, we can lend you one.  Tablets are ideal for using both at home and on the go for getting information such as weather reports; keeping up with the news; keeping in touch with family and friends; reading books; shopping (handy with Christmas on the way, what a thought!) or doing puzzles.  There is so much you can do and it all fits into your bag.  Come along and give it a go.  Our tutor, Lynsey, from East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust is excellent; former participants have said how much they like her friendly, knowledgeable and well-paced course delivery—and we always have a volunteer or two on hand to help those needing a bit of extra guidance.

You will be delighted to hear that our Tai Chi sessions will start again on Monday 28th October, 10am to 11am.  If you didn’t come along to sessions earlier this year, but fancy giving it a try, please do - it’s suitable for beginners.  Participants found that it improved their flexibility, increased feelings of wellbeing and relaxation, helped some with joint pain and that they made new friends at the classes.  Again, contact details at the end for anyone interested in joining.

In partnership with our friends at RAMH (Recovery Across Mental Health) we will be offering two activities this autumn/winter, to help improve both physical and mental wellbeing.  On Mondays from 28th October to 16th December 12pm to 1pm you can join the Mind Kind sessions.  These are 8 sessions designed to help improve your happiness, relaxation and wellbeing.  What’s not to like, especially in the run up to Christmas?  You can contact Zoe Nisbet on 0141 881 8811 or email zoe.nisbet@ramh.org to book a place.

And on Wednesdays from 30th October to 4th December from 1.30pm to 3pm we are delighted to welcome back Graham Crossan and the Fit 4 Sport Group.  If you are looking for a gentle introduction to getting more physically active, this is a group for you.  To book a space you can phone Graham on 0141 881 8811 or email  graham.crossan@ramh.org

We are delighted also to become a “Help Point” for Playlist for Life, hosting monthly “Cuppa Times” which will run alongside our Blether and a Brew activity.  Playlist for Life is a charity founded in 2013 by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson after the death of her mother, Mamie, who had dementia.  They want everyone with dementia to have a unique, personal playlist and everyone who loves or cares for them to know how to use it.  “Cuppa Times” will be held on 29th Oct, 26th Nov and 24th Dec from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, and are an opportunity for anyone living with dementia; their friends, family and carers to find out more about Playlist for Life and explore the power of connecting through music.

Earlier this year we successfully applied for a small grant from the Eat Well Age Well “Small Idea Big Impact” fund.  This is to run a 10-week pilot Breakfast Club for Men once a week, to cook and eat together.  We know that we need to try to provide more activities that appeal to men as part of MKHH; our groups are very well attended but it’s mainly ladies who currently attend and we know there are lots of men out there who would appreciate something to do alongside other men.  The Breakfast Club pilot will run on Friday mornings from 25th Oct to 24th Jan 2020 10am to 11.30am (with a short break over Christmas/New Year).  Week to week the group will choose the menu they would like to prepare the following week.  All the ingredients will be supplied along with tea, coffee, newspapers and a cosy space in the new café area.  If the pilot is successful, we will look at ways to carry the club forward.  If you, or somebody you know, would like to attend, please get in touch.

We are keen to promote the Cancer Support Group which has been running since February this year.  The group has really come together, and we’ve had some excellent input from agencies such as Cancer Support Scotland and Marie Curie.  We would love to see this resource being used by even more people.  If you can help us to promote the group in any way; by sharing information on your social media accounts; putting up posters in places you go to; telling folks you know…we really want to spread the word that we are here.  If you think you can help us and need any more information, posters or flyers, please get in touch with Vicky.  The Cancer Support Group runs on the last Wednesday of each month from 2pm to 3.30pm and is run on a drop-in basis (now referrals or form filling required).

And last, but by no means least….

As ever, a HUGE thank you to all our wonderful volunteers.

Together, from January to July this year, you have contributed 4291 hours of your time and skills.  This is an incredible commitment to improving the wellbeing of those in our community.  And so it is with great pleasure that we can tell you that Mearns Kirk Helping Hands has been approved as a Volunteer Friendly Organisation by a national accreditation body.  This means that our volunteer policies and procedures; recruitment; training and support and general ethos around working with volunteers have been independently examined and found to be an example of good practice.

We continue to attract new volunteers to our activities (again, a sign that we are doing something right!). Since January 2019 we have recruited an additional 14 volunteers.

As a charity it was very important to us to achieve this status to demonstrate, in return, our commitment to providing you with the best volunteering experience possible,

Goodbye for now - enjoy the autumn!!

(Remember - you can pop in and see myself or Laura if you are passing.  We always have tea and often have biscuits!)


Vicky Attwood

Project Manager

Mearns Kirk Helping Hands

07858 552 767


mkhelpinghands.org.uk (Website)



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