Fulfilled living in later life

Wednesday 19th January 2022

Meet the Business Manager... Vanessa at Milward House

Vanessa Nicholls has recently joined our home in Tunbridge Wells in the role of Business Manager. We found out about the path that has led her here

Pilgrims Friend Milward House Vanessa Nicholls

Before joining Milward House, I was working for Housing Justice, a Christian organisation that supports homeless people. I was a Team Manager and for the past two years I have been working from home, so coming into an office again feels very different.

The welcome I’ve received so far has been amazing. Lots of people have gone out of their way to pop in and say ‘hello’. It’s been a tricky time at the home with lots of staff absences due to COVID but nonetheless everyone has been extremely welcoming.

For me, it’s always been on my heart to support and care for others. It was part of our family culture when I was growing up. I get so much joy from helping people to do something they can’t do themselves and seeing how people grow and develop.

We all need community around us. Previously, I’ve worked for housing associations, helping people to find homes and making sure they have support around them should they get into difficulty.

I wasn’t really looking for a new job, but then I saw the Business Manager role at Milward House advertised on Facebook. It kept cropping up so I decided to pray about it and apply.

I’m thrilled to be working for an organisation that supports older people to live a fulfilled life. I firmly believe that however old you are you should have the opportunity to experience the best life you can.

I’m someone who likes to get stuck in and sort things out. There hasn’t been a Business Manager role at Milward House before so I’m looking forward to making it my own.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the people living here have lots of fun. I walked past the lounge the other day and they had some old hymns blaring out and people were singing along. And one of the recent activities they did was crisp tasting.

I think it’s good to remember that not all older people like the same things. In one of the housing associations I was working with there was an older lady who really liked Queen and so one of the staff took her out to a Queen concert. I get a bit tired of the stereotype of older people all listening to wartime tunes – some of those reaching older age now were teenagers in the 60s and may be into music from that era. Everyone has their own preferences.

I know that God has always been with me even if I haven’t always been with Him. Although my parents weren’t Christians, as a child I was sent to Sunday School at a Baptist church and then as a teenager I was involved with the Salvation Army. I then took a different path.

One thing that brought me back to God was meeting the mum of a little boy in my daughter’s class at school. She invited my daughter to join her son in Sunday School. It was in a small village but the church had a massive Sunday school. I dropped my daughter off and walked across the green to the church and it felt like I was coming home.

The church had just appointed a new vicar, a lady called Pat. She was just the right person for me at that time in my life and I got baptised and confirmed.

In my spare time, I like to volunteer. I’m the Treasurer of my local Bridge Club and I also volunteer for an organisation called Hope Into Action which encourages churches to support homeless people through providing housing. I’ve previously volunteered as a Street Pastor. I think wherever you go and whatever conversations you have you can be sowing seeds for the gospel.

I'd love you to pray:
- That I would quickly get back into the swing of working in an office after working from home for so long
- That I would get to grips with all the new systems I need to learn
- For everyone to get back to normal at Milward House after cases of COVID
- That I could be a support to my own parents as they age

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Milward House

Milward House is a 25-bed residential care home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent