Abbeyfield Housing Association celebrated 60 years of providing housing and support for older people at a special ceremony recently at Long Gallery, Stormont.
Baroness Brenda Dean, Abbeyfield’s President, was the guest speaker at the event.
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.”
A ‘Young Poet’ competition also formed part of the charity’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
Local budding young poets, aged between 8 and 18, were asked to write a poem about older people.
Accomplished songwriter and performer Duke Special judged the competition entries and read out the overall winning poem by Cathal Brolly at the Long Gallery event.
Cathal (age 16) is a pupil at Jordanstown School for children with hearing and visual impairment.