Abbeyfield reaches out to South Africa on International Charity Day

03/09/2015

Residents, staff and volunteers from Abbeyfield will be celebrating our work in South Africa to mark 2015’s International Charity Day.

Every September 5, the United Nations encourages people to think about becoming involved with charities and promotes the good work they do around the world.

Abbeyfield chief executive Natasha Singarayer said: "People probably don’t realise that Abbeyfield operates overseas and International Charity Day is the perfect opportunity to highlight this.

"In the UK, we’re known for offering the hand of friendship and companionship to older people, both those living in our own homes and those in the wider communities around us. 

"But we’re also reaching out across the continents to South Africa, where we support older people at an important project in Cape Town."

Abbeyfield houses in the UK have been raising money for a new home in Pelican Park Township, one of the poorest areas of Cape Town. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, the City of Cape Town and Power Construction, Abbeyfield is working on a new home for older people which will include a soup kitchen to feed people in the community and an after-school centre for children.

Natasha said: "It's 21 years since Apartheid ended in South Africa, but its effects are still being felt in the poorest parts of the country where there is a major housing crisis. Many people still live in informal settlements without running water or electricity and have never had a real home.

"The Pelican Park project will provide housing for older people and help to support the younger generation by offering good quality care and a stable learning environment through the after school centre."

Abbeyfield houses across Belfast raised more than £1,500 for the project through a sponsored walk by staff, volunteers and residents – some of whom are in their 90s – between the charity’s eight houses in the city. Abbeyfield Clifton House on the Isle of Wight organised an international coffee morning for the Pelican Park scheme at the start of August.

Funds raised by Abbeyfield will help equip Pelican Park with furniture, cooking and laundry equipment as well as books, toys and computers for the children’s centre. And thanks to the Internet, once the project is up and running, Abbeyfield homes in the UK will be able to stay in touch with Pelican Park to see their support in action.

Abbeyfield, which has over 500 houses and homes across the UK, provides care for more than 8,000 older people in a supported, family-like environment and is one of the UK’s top charities for volunteer engagement. Around 4,000 people in the UK help out at their local Abbeyfield houses during the year and now Abbeyfield has extended that reach further afield.

Abbeyfield has a further 89 houses globally, in countries including South Africa, Mexico and New Zealand.

"Helping people in the community has always been central to the Abbeyfield ethos," said Natasha.

"We're proud to be extending that to older people in need in South Africa and I’m delighted that residents, staff and volunteers from our homes in the UK were so keen to help make a difference to people’s lives on an international basis.

"We will continue to look for new ways to support Pelican Park in the future and extend Abbeyfield’s ethos to enrich and enhance the lives of older people to Cape Town."

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