Abbeyfield Dulwich is situated in a quiet residential street in Herne Hill, South East London. Originally two adjoining Edwardian houses which have been converted into a large and comfortable sheltered living residence, we offer a safe and secure environment with a communal feel.
The house features 6 apartments and 1 studio flat, a shared dining room and a large garden. Abbeyfield Dulwich is open to elderly people who, for one reason or another, find they are no longer able to cope looking after themselves in their own homes or feel isolated or insecure and need a degree of support.
Some of our residents have lived in the area for many years and have family living nearby; others come from further afield.
There is a housekeeper on duty during the day to provide two home-cooked meals and deal with general queries. Abbeyfield Dulwich is not a care home so nursing and similar care cannot be provided. However since friendship and companionship are important to us, we have a team of volunteers – young and old – who are available to pop into the house to talk to our residents or accompany them on a trip out.
Abbeyfield Dulwich is well connected to the local community. Shops, independent cafes, pubs, medical general practitioners, dentists, opticians, bus and train services and other amenities are close by. The world-famous Dulwich Picture Gallery is a short walk away, as are the parks of Brockwell, Belair and Dulwich. Concerts, plays and artistic events are often held locally, and the Open Gardens Weekends, Dulwich Literary Festival and Herne Hill Music Festival are among the local yearly highlights.
Every summer we hold a garden party for residents, their families, and the local community.
The Abbeyfield Society is a charity established in 1956 by Richard Carr-Gomm, a military man from an affluent background. Recognising that many older people in his local community were living alone, feeling isolated and insecure, Carr-Gomm decided to leave the Army and offer his services as an unpaid home help to older people.
After purchasing a house in Abbeyfield Road, Bermondsey, he invited two local residents to move in with him acting as their unpaid housekeeper. The success of this slightly unusual, and some would say eccentric, solution to the problem he had recognized, persuaded him to take the matter further by acquiring other properties and setting up The Abbeyfield Society. His passion to help the elderly in this way inspired volunteers locally and further afield to follow suit and form local charities, adopting similar principles, under The Abbeyfield banner. Read more here.
Richard Carr-Gomm’s original vision is still at work today. Residents find the privacy and security they seek when managing alone in their own home has become a burden. They come and go as they please, receive visitors and enjoy two cooked meals a day. They are free from the worries of maintaining a house and garden, paying bills and dealing with loneliness.
The Abbeyfield Society now runs over 500 houses and homes with committed staff and 4,000+ volunteers in the UK. Worldwide there are now around 9,000 residents living in 850 houses and homes and this number is set to increase over the coming years.
Abbeyfield Dulwich was established in 1963. In 2013 we were awarded the Abbeyfield Gold Star for meeting satisfactory standards with respect to leadership. volunteers, service to residents, staff, marketing and our house and later in May 2016 were awarded The Abbeyfield Core Standard in recognition of our "achievement in meeting the standards that reflect the Abbeyfield core values and best practices in The Abbeyfield Society’s aim to enhance the lives of older people”. However, unlike many other Abbeyfield houses, we remain independently run by a committee of local volunteers who try hard to foster a friendly and sociable family atmosphere in the house.
At some point in our lives many of us will need to make a decision on the level of support and care we might need in the future. The kind of help each person needs will vary; no one thing will necessarily determine when the time is right to make this decision, and the assistance that we might need can vary depending on many different factors.
There are four different kinds of Abbeyfield homes and you can find out more about these on the main Abbeyfield website
Independent Living (retirement villages)
All Abbeyfield houses and homes have different facilities and atmospheres, so we'd encourage you to visit a few of them before you decide. It may be possible at some Abbeyfield houses to have a trial stay in a guest room and a meal or two. Then you'll have time to chat with volunteers, housekeepers and residents to find out more, and see if it’s right for you. The facility of staying in a guest room is not available at Abbeyfield Dulwich, but you are welcome to have one or more lunches with us before making a decision.
Abbeyfield Dulwich offers supported housing, also known as sheltered housing.
This means we offer residents the independence of having their own room in a home-from-home environment. The principle is that residents live with us as independently as they wish, interacting with other residents at mealtimes, and with the ability to seek extra care from outside agencies should it be necessary.
At Abbeyfield Dulwich we know that the decision to move from your own home to sheltered accommodation is hard in that it suggests a loss of independence, but choosing to move into sheltered accommodation doesn’t have to mean losing your independence and we do all we can to ensure that our residents are able to live independently and remain independent as long as possible.
Due to the rules set by The Abbeyfield Society and the regulations under which Abbeyfield Dulwich operates, residents who require medication or other personal care need to arrange this separately themselves.
Although we do have a stair lift, our residents tend to be relatively mobile, and such health issues as they have can generally be managed by drop-in carers, visits to the GP or a local hospital such as King’s College Hospital.
If there comes a time when we cannot cater for a particular resident's needs we discuss options with them and their sponsors or family.
Abbeyfield Dulwich offers:
· Two home cooked meals per day
· Security, including a secure key system
· Visits from volunteers
· Six monthly support plan review at which the opportunity is given to the resident and his or her sponsor to discuss the level of support the resident has, to address their health or dietary needs and other similar issues which for one reason or another they may not have felt able to voice on earlier occasions, or to express any concerns they may have in the management of the house.
Residents have the freedom to:
* furnish their own flat or studio flat which has a kitchenette and ensuite toilet/shower room
* make their own breakfast in their room (food supplied)
* invite friends and family to their rooms during the day at any time
* come and go as they wish
* arrange any nursing visits they require
Residents are also responsible for the cleaning of their flats and doing their own laundry in the communal laundry room.
As people get older, peace of mind is important. Our house has secure room and alarm systems. The housekeeper checks on residents every day and is there to assist as and when it is needed.
Each flat has its own doorbell on the front door and has a pull cord and watch-like wrist device connected to the Warden Call system of in-house inter-coms for use in case of emergencies or to deal with any problems that arise. When the housekeepers are off-duty, the warden call system alerts Greenwich Telecare, a part of Greenwich Council, who will deal with the issue by speaking to the resident in question directly and will if necessary call in the emergency services. Greenwich Telecare has the facility of opening the front door remotely so that the emergency services can gain access to the house
The Abbeyfield Society has service benchmarks to ensure there is consistency in the level of service in Abbeyfield houses and continually seeks to introduce improvements.
To the Abbeyfield movement, your happiness, enjoyment and welfare are paramount and that means that you and your family can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be receiving the very best care and support available. Abbeyfield houses and homes are registered with external regulatory bodies such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in the case of care homes and Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) in the case of sheltered homes.
The quality of services is important to The Abbeyfield Society so they have established their own Quality Programme which encompasses all of their houses and homes. Their own team of quality assessors monitor and evaluate facilities, staff and services to ensure that every individual’s well-being and needs are in good hands, and that there is consistency in service delivery.
The Abbeyfield Society’s internal Quality Programme focuses on ensuring that the homes and housing meet a robust set of criteria, which includes ensuring that the opinions and feedback of residents and their families are listened to and goes above and beyond the minimum standards.
We, like all other houses operating under the Abbeyfield banner, are monitored by The Abbeyfield Society and regulated by the Home and Communities Agency.
Abbeyfield Dulwich has a safeguarding policy in place to protect residents from all forms of abuse: physical, sexual, psychological, financial or with respect to their possessions.Apart from the safeguarding policy, Abbeyfield Dulwich has many other house policies in place to ensure that the house is well run.
We are proud of the quality of what we do and hopefully you will find that with us you’re in excellent hands.
We are a charity, and therefore do not put profit before residents. We only charge what it actually costs to live with us.
Our monthly costs are currently £1535 for a standard flatlet and £1471 for the bedsit. There is usually a modest increase in January each year. Food, accommodation, council tax, electricity, heating, water (hot and cold), housekeeping services and wifi are included.
You may be eligible for funding to help with the cost. Your local authority or council is the body responsible for assessing your needs, and holds the budgets for paying for help, assistance and care. When you think your needs are getting too much for your current situation, you can ask the local authority to assess what your needs are (a care-needs assessment) and a financial assessment to see what, if anything, you would have to pay for any services or care. The local authority must provide you with a free care needs assessment, and this will indicate what, if any, services or care you can choose. Even if you’re intending on funding your own care, you should still discuss your situation with the local authority as they can help you to identify areas where you might need help and arrange this for you. You can find your local authority here https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
It's always useful for our residents to have a trusted relative, friend or professional to act as their sponsor or “first-caller'. Someone we can contact in case of an emergency, who'll make sure your needs are being met and offer you the support you need. Just let us know if you need help finding someone - we have lots of dedicated volunteers who'll be glad to help.
We want you to feel at home as soon as possible, so all rooms are tastefully decorated, usually with carpet and curtains, but aren’t furnished. This means you can bring your own furniture and possessions when you move in, provided they are not too large for the size of the room, and get your room looking just the way you want it. There are photographs of the studio flat and one of the apartments in our photo gallery and you can find room plans through the link at the top of this page.
The cleaning and tidying of your room is your responsibility. Should you wish to employ the services of a cleaner this must be at your own expense.
All residents have their own bathroom with walk-in shower, toilet and sink.
You can plug your phone into an existing socket providing you're happy to pay for it. There is a TV in the communal sitting room, but you're very welcome to have your own television in your room as well. Those residents over 75 are included in our free, concessionary TV licence. Those under 75 can be included in the concessionary licence at a cost of £7.50 per annum (as opposed to the normal licence fee of £149 p.a). Wifi is included.
Our housekeeper provides two home-cooked meals a day, with the main meal at 12.30pm and a light supper at 5.30pm. All meals are cooked from scratch using fresh ingredients. We usually serve fish on Fridays and roast meals on Sundays, and there is a focus on traditional British food although vegetarian, vegan and 'free-from' meals can be provided. Let us know if you have any special dietary requirements. Meals are served in the communal dining room, and it is part of the Abbeyfield ethos for residents to share meals and enjoy each others' company. However if you are ill you may be able to have your meals in your room. Our photo gallery includes some typical Abbeyfield dishes.
If it's only minor your carers and family would normally be able to look after you in the house. If you have to spend time in hospital, you will still need to meet the rent for your accommodation, but it will be waiting for you when you're feeling better. If you need to make plans for longer-term care and assistance, we can also help with this and can recommend other homes that offer nursing care. Your needs are the most important thing to us.
Advise the Society of your possible interest in taking accommodation at the Society's House by filling in our contact form on our Contacts Page or by contacting Mrs Mobbs Pitcher, Culverwood, Little London Road, Cross in Hand, East Sussex, TN21 0AX, Tel: 01435 865376, Mob: 07721672623. If you cannot contact Mobbs then try Jane Ross-Macdonald on 07989 947938.
Mobbs Pitcher will, on hearing from you, make arrangements either to visit you at your home or for you to be met at the Society's House.
Should you confirm at this initial meeting that you wish to take accommodation at the Society's House, you will be asked to complete an application form and a further form addressed to your own doctor to request him or her to supply relevant medical information. Both completed forms should be returned, in confidence, to Mobbs Pitcher at the above address.
If following receipt of the medical information, the Society deems it necessary for you to be seen by its own medical adviser, mutually agreeable arrangements will be made with you. Subject to the Society's being satisfied that your state of health is compatible with living in the Society's House, your name will be placed on the waiting list.
When a vacancy occurs, you will be invited to view the available accommodation.
If you like the accommodation and your state of health continues to be reasonable, you will be invited to meet the residents of the Society's House and committee members to resolve any further queries you may have on the suitability of the accommodation. Subject to your approval of the vacancy and a satisfactory outcome to the residents' meeting you will be offered the accommodation.
The Abbeyfield Society is one of the largest voluntary sector UK-wide providers of housing and care for older people, committed to alleviating loneliness while maintaining independence. Our vision is ‘making more time for older people’ and we see volunteers as crucial in helping us achieve this.
Many roles just require your time, energy and enthusiasm! Our volunteer role descriptions list desired skills or experience, but we know everyone is unique, so we’re always interested to hear about any other skills that you could bring to our homes.
You will receive a full induction, including any training and support that is necessary to help you feel confident in your volunteering role. Every volunteer is assigned a supervisor to provide ongoing help and support. We also provide a helpful booklet including information on important Abbeyfield policies.
You should never be out of pocket when you volunteer with us. We reimburse volunteers for out of pocket expenses, for example, relevant travel costs
You will be invited for an informal interview when you apply for a volunteer role. This informal interview is a two-way process, so don’t be concerned: it’s as much to find out if you are right for the role as we are right for you.
Our first and foremost priority is safeguarding our residents. For most of our roles we will ask you to supply two references and certain roles that work directly with vulnerable older people may require a DBS check. We will, of course, talk this through with you during the informal interview.
When you have given more than 12 hours of time to us, we will happily give you a reference to confirm your volunteering.
For more information about volunteering for Abbeyfield please contact Fleur Read on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7733 2018
We have a permanent staff of two housekeepers (one on duty every day) backed up by five relief housekeepers to cover sickness and holidays. The housekeepers are excellent home cooks with food hygiene qualifications.
As we tailor our services to meet the needs of individual residents the day-to-day work can vary enormously. The most important thing is that staff are warm, friendly, flexible and share our commitment to helping older people lead more fulfilling lives.
We use a cleaning agency and we employ a regular gardener so we are not looking for staff in these areas.
We pay our directly employed staff the London Living Wage or above and regularly check our salaries against other charities to make sure our pay is competitive.
Staff receive 28 days holiday each year. This is calculated pro rata for part-time staff.
Abbeyfield Dulwich operates a Pension Scheme which all permanent staff are entitled to join to help save for their retirement.
We invest in the careers of our staff. We encourage them to aim high and reach their full potential through training and development programmes and regular evaluations.
There are currently no permanent vacancies. However we are always looking for relief housekeepers to join our roster. In the past relief housekeepers have included empty nest mums with time on their hands, students with cooking qualifications, professional chefs interested in occasional work in the voluntary sector.
For a more information or a relief housekeeper application form please contact Melanie Griffith on email@example.com
Rowena Chapman or Judith Butler: 020 7274 5177
Andrew Butler QC, Hon Chair
Fleur Read, Hon Secretary
Glynn Abbott: Asst Treasurer
Melanie Griffiths: Housekeeper Supervisor
Louise Fincham: House Treasurer
Andrew Fletcher: Health & Safety
Rachel Jones, Hon Treasurer
Jo Middleton: HR Advisor
Paul Raikes: Hon Surveyor
Alison de Rohan: Support Plans/Liaison
Jane Ross-Macdonald: New Resident Applications + Marketing
Caroline Stylianou: DBS + young volunteers