The story of Mission Care is one of people who were motivated by a deep love for the sick, the poor and the lonely. It is a story of their great faith, perseverance and adaptability, for each decade brought new challenges which required fresh vision and a willingness to try new things. It is also the story of God’s faithful provision and His love for people.
Founded by Dr Selina Fox, the daughter of a renowned civil engineer, Mission Care began as The Bermondsey Medical Mission. The Mission provided medical and spiritual care to women and children in the local area, which at the time was considered very poor.
The original hospital consisted of just 8 beds and was staffed entirely by women. A new hospital (Grange Road) was built on neighbouring land to accommodate more patients and was opened by HRH the Duchess of York (later to be known as HRH The Queen Mother).
Dr Barbara Morton arrived at The Mission and soon became another important pioneer of the charity’s history. She was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and was described as having a faith capable of ‘moving mountains’.
Dr Morton opened the Brook Lane Medical Mission in 1937 in Downham due to the increasing number of families who had been transferred out to this area.
Dr Fox was awarded an MBE for her outstanding work.
During WW2, Dr Morton became aware of a new problem – a lack of suitable housing for older people who had either lost their homes during the war or now lived alone but weren’t fully able to care for themselves. Therefore, a large Victorian property was purchased in Brighton to provide rest and convalescence for elderly residents in the Downham area. This home ran until 1962.
Shortly after, Dr Morton opened a home called Dunoran in Bromley. Dunoran was staffed to provide nursing care for people suffering chronic or terminal illnesses and who needed long term care.
As a result of the introduction of the NHS, the hospital at Grange Road and Dunoran were taken over but proceeds from their transfer enabled the purchase of a new home, Greenhill, thus continuing the Mission’s care provision for older people in Bromley.
A new home, Homefield, was opened in Bickley to provide day-to-day care for people who had just left hospital but still needed a certain level of support.
Just over the road in Bickley, another home was opened - Elmwood - which originally accommodated the ICU overflow from Homefield.
Support from the King Edward’s Hospital Fund enabled the opening of Foxholm – a seaside convalescence home in Bognor Regis where residents usually spent two weeks in Summer, at Easter or Christmas. Foxholm ran until 1993.
The original Bermondsey Medical Mission Hospital was purchased back from the NHS in 1958 and was reopened to provide a home for the elderly, a community centre and a social club for older people in the community. The site was renamed Lena Fox House in honour of the Mission’s founder. Dr Selina Fox died in the hospital she had founded, aged 87.
To better reflect the charity’s ongoing activities and the provision of social, rather than medical care, the organisation was renamed Mission Care. Also in this year, Morton House, a newly built home at Lewisham Park, was opened to provide care for up to 25 older people in the Lewisham borough.
Mission Care’s charity shop, Brix, was opened in Chatterton Road, Bromley, by two ladies who were inspired after reading a fundraising leaflet for Homefield. The leaflet had asked residents to donate a ‘barrowful of bricks’ so the name Brix was chosen as a play on words with the x representing the unknown element of purchasing an item from a charity shop.
Homefield reopened after being rebuilt to improve the quality of the facilities and also the environment. Also in this year, Mission Care obtained Willett House, a nursing home in Chislehurst.
Trustees of 10 Love Walk in Camberwell asked Mission Care to take over the running and responsibility of the home which served younger people with physical disabilities and other needs.
Greenhill was rebuilt, increasing its capacity to 64 residents.
Mission Care International was established to complement and advance our work at home by seeking to serve vulnerable and marginalised people outside of the UK. We run projects in India, Kenya and Uganda.
Elmwood was rebuilt, also increasing its capacity.
Morton House closed.
Friends of Mission Care was launched in order to acknowledge and thank our supporters on a regular basis. It was also introduced to encourage more people to get involved through volunteering, prayer and fundraising.
Mission Cafe was opened in The Mall, Bromley with a focus on providing a community space for everyone to enjoy and in particular those living with dementia.
Also in 2015, a sensory garden was built at Elmwood as a result of a big fundraising drive and the generosity of local organisations who provided time, money and also equipment.
Improving Lives was launched – our community initiative supported by our cafe and charity shops to help older people, including those living with dementia, enjoy a range of activities.
Our second charity shop in Crescent Way, Orpington was opened.
Today we care for over 200 residents across our five homes, are a familiar and well-loved face in Chatterton Village and The Crescent and reach even more people in the local area through Mission Cafe.