The story of Abbeyfield is a remarkable one. Based on the vision of one man's determination to put an end to the loneliness and neglect of London's older citizens in the 1950s.
When Richard Carr-Gomm became Britains first male home-help in 1956, he was shocked at the isolation and loneliness of some of the older people he visited. Deciding he wanted to do much more, he resigned his commission in the Coldstream Guards and set about doing just that. He bought a small house in Bermondsey, South London, and invited two local residents who'd been living alone, to join him. The first Abbeyfield house was born.
Word got around and quickly more people were invited to live in the house. Like-minded volunteers joined Richard in caring for, and improving the lives of older people who'd been living without friendship or support. Soon, all sorts of people started fundraising and donating money to help Richard and his team continue their work. Within two years there were six houses and 26 residents enjoying Richard's vision of a better later life for all.
But Richard wasn't satisfied. By the end of 1960 he'd help create new societies in eight other London boroughs. And the charity had spread to 15 places outside the capital, through the groundbreaking efforts of volunteers. We became The Abbeyfield Society, dedicated to making the lives of older people easier and more fulfilling - a philosophy that survives and continues to inspire the charity's growth to this day. Richard's original vision has now become an international reality.