Hospitality Assured client Morden College has been providing support for older people for over 300 years….here about what they have planned for the future.
“It is the noblest foundation, and most considerable single piece of charity that has been erected in England since Sutton’s Hospital in London.” Daniel Defoe – 1724
Defoe’s words reflect on the generosity of the successful merchant Sir John Morden who founded Morden College in 1695, later endowing it. This endowment is classified as Permanent; Sir John Morden wished his College to survive in perpetuity.
The principle purpose of Morden College is to provide older people with accommodation but over the centuries the provision of care – physical, pastoral and social, has grown in tandem with the expansion of our accommodation. With three sites, two in Blackheath and the other in Beckenham, we have over 250 flats for independent living as well as a 60 bed Care Home with nursing. To qualify to live with us, individuals must be in receipt of a UK state pension, not working, in financial need and, during their working life, have held a position of responsibility in a profession, commerce, trade or vocation. We accept men, women, and couples from any background, of any faith, or of none. The Charity is underwritten by a strong Christian ethos.
Living life to the full is an important principle for residents who are able to benefit from a comprehensive sporting and social calendar. In addition to the putting, hammers, boules and snooker competitions organised by the sports clubs there are licenced bars in our main Blackheath and Beckenham sites. Getting out and about is important too and there are weekly trips to such places as galleries, museums, shopping centres, historic sites and coastal towns. We are awaiting delivery of two new mini-buses in early spring 2019, both of which will be wheelchair accessible and will allow for a shuttle service between sites.
Themed dinners, musical performances and talks are just some of the dozens of events that Morden College arranges each year, the highlights being the annual Founders Day and Friends Day events in June. The catering team prepare and serve afternoon tea to over 400 people at the latter which is held in a marquee on the extensive lawns.
Looking to the future, work has just started on the John Morden Centre. At one level this will replace buildings that are tired and beyond further investment but it is really about creating a new centre of life at Morden College. The inspiration was drawn from a sense amongst the team that, despite the social and sporting calendar and the pastoral care there was still a degree of individual isolation. It raised the question of how things could be done differently to make life more inclusive and less lonely.
The centre will not of course be an end in itself but it will be an important means to that end and it will provide a central venue from which services, some essential and some desirable, will be run. A new café will be at the heart with a courtyard garden and terrace and there will be a shop, arts and crafts studios and therapy rooms as well as a new medical centre. The main reception will relocate from the original College building and the existing function room, which adjoins the new structure will be fully refurbished with new lighting AV equipment and a sprung floor.
The project began in January 2019 with demolition of the existing structures and it is anticipated the works will be complete in late 2020 following which Morden College hope to have their Patron, The Countess of Wessex formally open the centre.