Thursday February 22 2018 12:34 p.m.
Rhodes Memorial Convalescent Home Incorporated (‘Rhodes Trust’) in partnership with Abbeyfield Properties Ltd is to build a new house for seniors in Wigram, Christchurch. Construction of a 14-studio house for able older people is to start this month, with a projected completion date of late November 2018.
The Rhodes Trust is a longstanding Christchurch charity and was established to perpetuate the memory of Robert Heaton Rhodes through the founding of a convalescent home in Christchurch in 1887. The Trust has provided accommodation for older persons in Christchurch for well over a century on the Cashmere Hill. Following dislocation caused by the Christchurch earthquakes the Trust began to investigate the best way to progress their mission into the future and has been committed to continuing its role of promoting care for older people.
“Of all the options the Rhodes Trust explored, the Abbeyfield model of affordable supported housing for older people best matched our aims and vision. Abbeyfield provides a secure, companionable way of life which enables seniors to continue to be independent and active,” says Rhodes Trust Chairperson Glenyss Whitnall.
Rhodes Trust will build and own the Rhodes Abbeyfield house and land, leasing it to Abbeyfield Properties. In line with the unique Abbeyfield model, it will be managed by volunteer members of Abbeyfield Christchurch Inc, which already operates Abbeyfield House in Hornby. A live-in housekeeper will provide meals and general support for the 14 residents.
“Thanks to this partnership with Rhodes Trust and their vision for the future, more Christchurch people will soon have access to supported, affordable accommodation in their later years,” says Susan Jenkins, Executive Officer for Abbeyfield NZ. “Capital funding to build new houses to meet the rapidly growing need is Abbeyfield’s greatest barrier to growth, and we are keen to partner with more like-minded charities and other entities to extend Abbeyfield’s reach into more communities.”
Recent research underlines the growing need for affordable options for older people, as more people enter retirement dependent on expensive private rental accommodation, or with insufficient equity to afford other options. No capital contribution is required to be an Abbeyfield resident. Once built, an Abbeyfield House is self-sustaining, thanks to volunteer management. Abbeyfield Houses provide a proven answer to the issues of loneliness and isolation in older age, which have many ramifications on health and wellbeing.
Mike Greer Homes is the construction partner for the new house. Peter Freeman, CEO Special Projects says “Mike Greer Homes are pleased to design and build the new Rhodes-Abbeyfield house in Wigram, Christchurch. We built the Abbeyfield House in Hornby and we are very pleased to be able to continue our association with Abbeyfield. We believe that Abbeyfield is a wonderful initiative that benefits the whole community.”