From humble beginnings in Kingswood Road, Gillingham, The Abbeyfield Kent Society has grown to become the biggest independent Abbeyfield in the world. Yesterday, it celebrated its 50thanniversary.
With sixteen care homes, supported homes and extra care schemes across the county, The Abbeyfield Kent Society has been providing care, compassion and companionship for older people across Kent for 50 years.
Kent got its first Abbeyfield home in 1967, when Rev Tom Rogers noticed that older people in the area were lonely and in need of care. From that first small house in Kingswood Road, the Society continued to grow over the years and in 1992, Rogers House opened in Gillingham, it was the first residential care home in the county to provide 24-hour care and compassion.
The Society will be celebrating the significant milestone with a series of events taking place at its homes across the county, from barbecues and garden parties to 1960s festivities and afternoon tea. The celebrations will conclude with an event at the Society’s flagship extra care housing scheme, Watling Court on 27th May, featuring entertainment from the Rochester Choral Society Chamber Choir.
In a commemorative video, Zach Miles, Chair of the Society commented: “When you consider the pressures on the industry at the moment, particularly for us as we are focused on helping the less financially advantaged, meaning we rely on government funding through local authorities – which as we all know, has been squeezed – the fact we have been able to come through all of that in a healthy state is a huge achievement for all involved, particularly considering we have been involved in a sizeable expansion programme too.”
“Looking to the future, I believe it’s very important that we retain the Abbeyfield ethos, the focus on community spirit and looking after those who are less financially advantaged. We must continue that family approach.”