The History of Abbeyfield
Upon leaving the Army in 1956 Richard Carr-Gomm, the founder of Abbeyfield, was deeply saddened at the loneliness and isolation he saw amongst the elderly when he returned to his neighbourhood in Bermondsey, South London. Determined to do something about it, Richard bought a house and invited two of the local residents to move in with him to share each others’ company. The first Abbeyfield house was born.
Before long, word had spread and more people moved into the house, while several volunteers joined Richard in supporting the elderly residents. The Abbeyfield Society grew and expanded to locations across London and beyond as it became a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for old people.
Today, Abbeyfield is made up of houses, care homes and nursing homes, looking after more than 7,000 residents in the UK. Yet it maintains that same fundamental philosophy of community and friendship at its core.
A caring, supportive environment
There is a common misconception that a care home is somewhere people are forced to go when they can no longer cope on their own. For this reason, people often don’t look at changing their living circumstances until the decision is no longer theirs to make.
At Abbeyfield Newcastle we don’t see such a move as a backward step. We believe that the caring environment we create in our homes gives residents the chance to socialise and support each other to find a greater fulfilment in their old age. Without the hassle of handling daily chores, bills and home maintenance, our residents are able to focus on spending their time enjoying their later years in the company of others. We encourage residents to furnish their own personal spaces and create a home they are proud to show off when visited by friends and family. Residents are always welcome to invite their loved ones to stay for meals and utilise our overnight guest rooms if they wish.
An Active Community
Fulfilment is at the heart of our offer. For some, that can be found by sitting in comfortable surroundings, enjoying the peace and quiet offered by our tranquil gardens; for others it’s heading out on an excursion or taking up a new hobby with friends. We give residents the option of doing as much or as little as they please, and we encourage them and their families to participate in choosing what it is we offer.
Whether it’s arts and crafts, a spot of gentle exercise or regular outings to local places of interest, participating in the decision-making process allows residents to maintain their independence and interest levels. Knowing that help is never far away, can raise confidence levels and get residents back to hobbies and pastimes they had perhaps given up on.
A Healthy Approach
For the body and mind to be willing, we know residents need to have the right sustenance. All of our care home facilities offer a range of nutritious and, just as importantly, delicious menus created in conjunction with the residents themselves and our talented chefs. Because our homes are designed for small communities, we can tailor the food we provide to not only dietary requirements but also likes and dislikes. Abbeyfields person-centred approach encourages a real sense of wellbeing for all of our residents and completes peace of mind for friends and families.
The Buddy Scheme
We believe in offering prospective residents the chance to get a genuine feel for our homes before making a decision on their living arrangements. That’s why we run the Buddy Scheme. Through the Buddy Scheme existing residents and their families share their own first-hand experiences of life with Abbeyfield. Over the years we have found it to be important for visitors to get an authentic viewpoint on our homes and the services we provide.
Quite simply, it wouldn’t be possible for us to continue the work we do as a not-for-profit organisation if it wasn’t for the teams of volunteers we can call on. Whether it’s pastoral activities, fundraising, organising events or even helping to renovate and landscape our gardens, the support of local people from all walks of life is integral to our success and to the happiness of our residents.
There are over 10,000 volunteers who give additional support to those in Abbeyfield homes across the UK, and Newcastle has some of the most generous volunteers in the country, many of whom have been involved with Abbeyfield for a number of years. We are always on the lookout for new volunteers with a wide range of skills and experience.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering at Abbeyfield Newcastle please click here