Abbeyfield turns 20

Abbeyfield turns 20

Current residents, staff, committee members and guests celebrated the 20th anniversary since the opening of McMullen Abbeyfield House in Huonville last Friday, also recognising the contribution of three long-term committee members.

Abbeyfield Australia chair David Kay travelled from Burnie for the occasion and congratulated past and current committee members for their efforts in making McMullen Abbeyfield House such a success.

Abbeyfield Australia provides affordable sup- ported living for people aged over 55, with 10 ensuited rooms available in the Huonville house, set in gorgeously manicured expansive grounds, with a live-in housekeeper who provides two meals per day and other housekeeping support.

“Abbeyfield’s emphasis is on the residents and ensuring that the residents have an enjoyable time while they are in the house,” said David.

“Back in 1958, a retired officer from the Guards became concerned about the number of his former colleagues and their widows who were living in distressed circumstances.

“He identified three problems with living on your own; poor nutrition, loneliness and anxiety, as people get older, of maintaining their residence and their garden.

“That was back in 1958, and we’re still getting there as a government and as a country.

“Here you have achieved it.

“I like to think that Abbeyfield House has an emphasis on ‘home’.”

David says that Abbeyfield Australia, after a national restructure, is in a good position, with government now taking notice of the community housing model, which sees older people able to stay in their local community, in addition to addressing the increasing pressure on housing supply.

“It’s vital that the local contact remains, to support people from the local area, as they move into the house and adapt to living in a communal situation,” said David.

“The organisation needs to support its residents.

“In Huonville, you’ve done it well for 20 years and we need to see it continue.”

On behalf of Abbeyfield Australia, David presented meritorious service commendations to three local committee members.

Kent Wells, who was co-opted on to the committee a year before the House officially opened to advise on finance, and has chaired the committee for the past 20 years, Marita Bennett, who has been a committee member since around 1998, holding roles including housekeeper supervisor and resident’s liaison, and Vicki Evans, who has been on the committee for 15 years, in the role of treasurer.

Kent, on behalf of the committee, welcomed residents and guests to the celebration, paying particular tribute to the late Dorothy Thurley (represented at the afternoon tea by her husband Howard), who was a driving force behind the formation of McMullen Abbeyfield House.

At the time, Jill Calvert was managing the Estate of Alison McMullen and, when she had a chance meeting with Dorothy, funds met idea and the house resulted.

The Estate of Alison McMullen provided the land and 70 per cent of the funds required to build the house, topped up with a grant from the State Government of the time.

Kent said that the committee continues to work hard to ensure the house stays fresh and contemporary, including the installation of solar panels, the addition of an outside toilet, changing the ensuite lights to energy efficient LED lighting and painting the exterior and internal communal areas of the house.

Kent acknowledged all current and former committee members for their commitment to ensuring the ongoing success of the house, as well as the housekeeping staff, who have treated residents as family and made the house a great place to live.

Represented by Councillor Juarne Lovell, Kent thanked the Huon Valley Council for 20 years of support, through rate rebates, which has assisted in keeping operating costs to a minimum.

Former MLC and MHA Paul Harriss, a strong supporter of McMullen Abbeyfield House during its formation and construction, was also a guest at the afternoon tea.

Long-term resident Stella Howe joined David Kay in cutting the 20th birthday cake, before everyone enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea.

McMullen Abbeyfield House, located in Wilmot Road, Huonville, currently has vacancies and would be happy to provide a tour of the facilities, contact Vicki Evans for more information on 6297 1073.