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. Read on to see how his vision grew from these humble beginings into one of the UK's leading charities, helping thousands of people across Britain and the world.
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.
The idea takes off
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.
Building on the vision
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.
The spirit that Richard Carr-Gomm instilled in those early days is still with us in everything we do. You can discover more about our extraordinary founder, and learn about his extraordinary drive and determination to create Abbeyfield in this extended profile.