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Our story

Abbeyfield founder Richard Carr-Gomm set up the first Abbeyfield House in Bermondsey, South London in 1956.

Richard Carr-Gomm

The beginnings

Recognising that many older people were living alone and feeling isolated in their own communities, Richard Carr-Gomm wanted to provide them with a safe, secure home where they could find friendship and support. Soon after buying a house and inviting two local residents to move in, he acquired five more properties and set up the Abbeyfield Society. The idea grew from there and Abbeyfield Houses are now found throughout the UK and in eight other territories across five continents.

Abbeyfield in New Zealand

Abbeyfield was introduced to New Zealand in 1991 by Wakefield GP Dr Ted Bassett, who had encountered Abbeyfield on a visit to the UK to explore retirement accommodation models. On his return, Dr Bassett recruited a small energetic group of supporters and Abbeyfield New Zealand was born. Abbeyfield New Zealand Incorporated was first established as a charitable organisation in 1992. While Abbeyfield NZ operates autonomously, being part of an international network strengthens our work here, giving us access to information and a wide range of operational experience.

Ted Bassett

“From the early beginnings of Abbeyfield when we focused on being good neighbours and on companionship for the elderly, my dream has always been that Abbeyfield would expand to reach out to more and more lonely people worldwide, and this is what has happened.” – Richard Carr-Gomm

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