Abbeyfield Houses Society of Canada’s office is located at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa, ON. The Bronson Centre is a fantastic community and cultural hub, serving over 40 different non-profit organisations. We currently employ a part-time Administrative Manager and a part-time Executive Director, who are supported by a national volunteer Board. There are over 20 Abbeyfield Houses across Canada.
We operate on a carefully cultivated budget, supported in large part by affiliation fees from our Houses and through different grants. Whereas the focus of a local Abbeyfield Society is on the creation and operation of an Abbeyfield House within its own community, the national Abbeyfield Society has more of a promotional role – to publicise the Abbeyfield name and to encourage and support other communities in establishing Abbeyfield houses. It is the custodian of good Abbeyfield practice and supports training, lobbying, fundraising and marketing in that country. In any given month, the Abbeyfield Canada team participates in activities to boost the name recognition of our organisation.
Abbeyfield’s core mandate is to provide affordable accommodation and companionship for lonely elders within their own local community. This is achieved by converting and maintaining houses in which, typically, a small group of residents live together with a house manager. Rooms are usually private, but housekeeping and meals are provided by a small staff in the common living space.
Each House is a non-profit, registered charity. House ownership and support are undertaken by community volunteers. Abbeyfield is non-denominational and does not discriminate against race, gender, or background.
Abbeyfield Canada is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and managed by an Executive Director:
- Denis Laframboise – President
- Bill Statten – Treasurer and Director (ON)
- Robert Gunn– Secretary and Director (BC)
- Tim Shearman – Director (ON)
- Andrea Geary – Director (MB)
- Liz Birchall – Director (ON)
- Garry Hoffart, AB – Director (AB)
- Judy Maile, BC – Director (BC)
- JP Melville – Executive Director (Interim)
Canada joined Abbeyfield International in 1985 and remains committed to the Abbeyfield ideals first articulated by the founder of Abbeyfield Richard Carr-Gomm.
In 1956 Major Richard Carr-Gomm resigned his commission with the British Army and bought a property in South London for £250. It was run down, had six rooms, an outdoor lavatory, and two cold taps. It was to provide housing for four people – the only qualification being loneliness. He was the first housekeeper and the press dubbed him “The Scrubbing Major.”
Today this prototype has provided a vision and the impetus for hundreds of Abbeyfield Houses operating all around the world.
Abbeyfield International promotes the Abbeyfield concept globally using its network of member national societies and, through them, an extended network of local societies.
Currently there are many countries affiliated to Abbeyfield International, with hundreds of Abbeyfield Houses providing homes for thousands of seniors.