Published 1st March 2012
Beatrice Constance Harvey (Connie to her Friends) who has died just two weeks short of her 100th birthday spent a lifetime both professionally and privately, serving the needs of others, through her work as a Tubercolosis Almoner (Social Worker) and Founder Board Member of Wirral Methodist Housing Association respectively.
Constance attended Tranmere Methodist Church in Birkenhead and was present at a circuit meeting in 1964, which was told of the plight of a family trying to hold itself together in the face of appalling housing conditions.
Constance was one of eight people who came forward immediately after that meeting to pledge themselves to do something practical to meet the need that this story revealed and so Birkenhead Methodist Housing Aid Society (now renamed Wirral Methodist Housing Association) was born.
The group decided that very night to buy four houses for letting at “reasonable rents” to applicants, “irrespective of colour, class or creed” and launched an appeal for funds to buy the properties as well as repair them to a suitable standard.
Each of the Founder Members were very much hands-on involved in those early days with Constance carrying out the task of interviewing applicants and handling tenancy management in her spare time.
Through the years the organisation has become professionalised, with a staff of 20 overseen by a predominantly Methodist Board, managing a stock of more than 750 homes throughout Wirral.
Constance was steadfast in her belief in the value of supporting married couples through the provision of decent, affordable family housing. She continued her voluntary support for the work of the Association until she stepped down from active involvement in tenant welfare matters at the age of 90, at which time she was made the Association’s President. Even then she asked to be kept informed, reading minutes of Board Meetings until recent years when increasing infirmity took its toll.
Although the world has changed significantly during the past 50 years, the day-to-day challenges faced by those less well off among us for decent affordable housing remain. Inspirational people such as Constance provide us with proof that we can each make a difference individually in the face of seemingly impossible odds.
Chief Executive. Photo: Chief Executive, Alun Hughes makes a presentation to Constance Harvey on the occasion of her 90th birthday