Abbeyfield Housing Association celebrated 60 years of providing housing and support for older people at a special ceremony recently at the Long Gallery, Stormont.
Baroness Brenda Dean, Abbeyfield’s President, was the guest speaker at the event with Ballymoney DUP MLA Mervyn Storey also in attendance.
Abbeyfield provides a range of high quality accommodation and services to older people throughout Northern Ireland, from purpose built apartments, right through to sheltered bungalows and flats, supported sheltered houses and residential care.
The charity’s central ethos is that older people should be enabled to retain links within the local community and that overcoming loneliness and isolation can make a huge difference to an older person’s well being.
Professor Bob Stout, Abbeyfield Northern Ireland Chairman said “Abbeyfield was founded on the principle that older people have an important place in the community. The first Abbeyfield house was established in 1956 by Richard Carr-Gomm who recognised that many older people live alone and feel isolated in their own communities. He wanted to provide them with a safe and secure home where they could find friendship and support. The original guiding principles, that older people are an important part of the community and that loneliness must be alleviated, are just as relevant today as they were 60 years ago.”
Professor Stout continued: “Abbeyfield’s supported sheltered house offers a family style of living that provides older people with support but still allows them to be independent. Freshly cooked meals are eaten together, a better option than microwaved meals eaten on your own, which is the reality for many of our older population. Community involvement and the contribution made by volunteers enhance the quality of life of residents.”
Abbeyfield Belfast Society operates seven supported sheltered houses in South and East Belfast. Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association manages 19 supported, sheltered houses in Ballycastle, Ballyclare, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Bangor, Carrickfergus, Donaghadee, Downpatrick, Greenisland, Holywood, Lurgan, Merville, Newtownards and Portstewart. It also runs a care home in East Belfast and three schemes in Carrick, Newtownabbey and Belfast.