Newtownabbey volunteers have been recognised for their exceptional contribution to residents’ lives as Abbeyfield Housing Association celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Marked by a special event at Belfast City Hall, guest speakers included Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Brian Kingston, and Baroness Brenda Dean, Abbeyfield’s President.
Congratulating volunteers for the invaluable role they play, Baroness Brenda Dean added: “Abbeyfield plays an important role in local society by providing a range of high quality accommodation and services to older people throughout Northern Ireland, from purpose built apartments, right through to sheltered bungalows and flats, supported sheltered houses and residential care.
“The charity’s central ethos is that older people should be enabled to retain links within the local community. Our volunteers are a critical part of this process. Their interactions with residents help to overcome loneliness and isolation and they can make a huge difference to an older person’s wellbeing. On behalf of our residents and management I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to them.”
Also thanking the volunteers for their commitment and dedication Professor Bob Stout, Abbeyfield Northern Ireland Chairman commented: “Abbeyfield was founded on the principle that older people have an important place in the community. “The original guiding principles, that older people are an important part of the community and that loneliness must be alleviated, are just as relevant today as they were 60 years ago.
“Our dedicated volunteers give of their time, in a range of different ways, to make sure residents can take part in activities and feel connected to their local community. In addition some are involved in the administration side of things, others are board members and a number contribute to producing a newsletter for residents and volunteers.
“There are so many different ways people can contribute and each and every way is appreciated. It is important to publicly acknowledge and thank volunteers for the contribution they make during the charity’s 60th anniversary celebrations.”
There are two Abbeyfield societies in Northern Ireland, both are charities operating under the principles that older people have an important role to play amongst their families, friends and in their community. They also help older people work to overcome loneliness and insecurity as well as involving them in their community.
Abbeyfield Belfast Society operates supported sheltered houses across NI including Newtownabbey, Belfast, Carrickfergus and many more.