In Residence

Don’t they know that Christmas is for Everyone?

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on December 1 2014

In the run up to Christmas this year I visited two members of the Mill Grove family: both of whom are in their late seventies. One was terminally ill and in a hospice, the other had suffered a series of strokes that had left him partly paralysed down the right side of his body. They were contemporaries at Mill Grove, arriving at about the time I was born. So I see them as older brothers who have always been part of my life and extended family.

It was on a Sunday evening and we were alone in the hospice when the first confided in me that he was not religious, but that he would like me to pray for him. A few days later the second broke into tears as he asked me if I would take his funeral. I agreed, with the proviso that no one knew which of us would die first. And then we too prayed. Neither was religious in any conventional sense.

So as Christmas nears, how do we make sense of this apparent contradiction between secularity (the non-religious), and praying? One way is to see the request for prayer as part of “folk religion”, but that doesn’t really fit in these cases because they were asking me, a Christian minister to pray for them, and knew that I would pray within a Christian framework.
Perhaps we could come at this another way. There is a real problem with the term “religious” in that it is associated with buildings, forms of worship, professional clergy, and a whole cluster of assumptions. And for this reason I am keen to point out that I do not see myself as religious either. What’s more the founder of the Christian faith could hardly be … Continue reading …

In Residence

Villages and Compost Heaps

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on November 1 2014

The last chapter of the book, The Growth of Love, is entitled “Villages and Compost Heaps”, and in this column I would like to come back to this theme once again. For the record I last wrote an In Residence column on the subject in June 2002 (It Takes … Continue reading …

In Residence

Therapy and Place

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on October 1 2014

When I began my research into residential child care at Edinburgh University in 1969 one of the pioneers whose work I discovered and cherished was Barbara Dockar-Drysdale. The place forever associated with her name is the Mulberry Bush School, Standlake, west of Oxford. For some reason, although I … Continue reading …

In Residence

Celebrating North Wales

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on September 1 2014

In August 2014 the extended family of Mill Grove enjoyed its 39th consecutive holiday in North Wales. Perhaps the anniversary would not have been so significant if I had not read John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps in recent months. Or perhaps this year’s stay was uniquely special.

(Just for … Continue reading …

In Residence

goodenoughcaring Issue 15

by Charles Sharpe

Posted on August 14 2014

The 15th issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal was published in June. Edited by Charles Sharpe, this is a journal which we recommend. Charles writes:
Given the interest in the general affairs of Scotland this year, we are serving up a Scottish flavoured goodenoughcaring journal. Though showing distinct signs of have taken … Continue reading …

Other Reviews

My Underpants Rule :by Kate and Rod Power

Book Review by David Lane

Posted on August 14 2014

This book is a quick read for the reviewer as it is only 28 pages including the covers but it contains an important message for little children, put plainly and powerfully. How does one help little children to stand up for themselves against sexual abusers? This book has a good … Continue reading …

In Residence

Throwing Stones

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on August 1 2014

Throwing stones has a long and chequered history. Examples that come to mind immediately include David’s heroic killing of Goliath, the throwing of stones by resistance or revolutionary movement against occupying forces, the use of stones as a method of execution, and the story of how Jesus intervened when … Continue reading …

Child Protection

Sexual Abuse

by davidlane

Posted on July 30 2014

What has been learnt from the recent allegations of sexual abuse and from the investigations and court cases arising from the disclosures? And what more can we learn?

We suspect that professionals have not learnt a lot. They already knew that all sorts of people abuse children. We are decades away … Continue reading …

In Residence

“This is my Story”

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on July 1 2014

The importance of life stories cannot be overstated. By life stories I mean the process in which a child, young person or adult tells in some consecutive or coherent age-appropriate way the narrative of their life to date. And implicit in this is the fact that someone who … Continue reading …

In Residence

By Choice or By Order?

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on June 1 2014

Over many years of observation it has become apparent to me that children and adults live and act for one of two fundamental reasons: because of choice, or because of an order. (By choice I mean that they act primarily out of free will, not because they have been … Continue reading …

Health

Hill End

by davidlane

Posted on May 17 2014

About two years ago I stumbled across a blogger called ‘Pitsea pirate’ who gave a poignant description of his childhood and how he ended up in Hill End Adolescent Unit for six months when he was twelve because he kept running away from home. This led me to also … Continue reading …

In Residence

How Attached Are We to Children?

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on May 1 2014

It is well known that all the nations in the world apart from the USA and Somalia are signed up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. But from the very start there have been those of us who have wondered what it actually … Continue reading …

In Residence

“For what we are About to Receive may the Lord Make us Truly Thankful”

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on April 4 2014

In the last week of March 2014 there were six of us together in North Wales. We called ourselves a work-party, and the purpose of our trip and stay was to attend to some of the repairs and maintenance required by the two houses belonging to Mill Grove in … Continue reading …

In Residence

Better Late Then Never

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on March 10 2014

My very first visit to Hungary was when I touched down in Budapest airport on Monday 17th February 2014. For many other passengers it seemed as if it was just another flight. But for me it was imbued with huge personal significance.

The reason is that it was as … Continue reading …

In Residence

Better Late Then Never.

Posted on March 5 2014


In Residence

Inside and Outside of Children’s Homes

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on February 3 2014

According to the Office for National Statistics in the 17 years since 1996, the number of adults between the ages of 20 and 34 in the UK still living with their parents has increased by 25% (670,000) There is a gender difference with 2.1 million (32%) being men, and … Continue reading …

In Residence

Of Friends and Friendship

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on January 6 2014

This article is an attempt to reflect on one or more aspects of the nature of friendship in order to work out some of the implications for children and young people who find themselves in the care system. It was a simple comment that stirred the theme into life, … Continue reading …

Child Protection

Regulation Matters

by davidlane

Posted on January 6 2014

A Potted History

Professionals working with children and young people have been arguing for a long time now that they should be registered. There are several reasons. The self-interest is that registration tends to give credibility, kudos, standing and recognition to those who achieve registration. But the reason why registered people … Continue reading …

In Residence

“Some of the young people have never been to the beach.”

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on December 13 2013

It was at a board meeting of Frontier Youth Trust in Birmingham when a youth worker came out with this phrase. He had been engaged with young people for several years through music and the arts. But contrary to what you might assume he was not working in … Continue reading …

In Residence

John Bowlby, Russ Conway, Donald Winnicott and Maths

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on November 9 2013

It all began when I heard what one of my grandchildren had said soon after she and her family had moved house. Talking to her older sister she was musing on the first big transition in her life. “I’ve got a new house. I’ve got new friends. … Continue reading …