Abbeyfield Western Bay of Plenty Inc is raising funds to build a home in Katikati for 14 residents.
Made up of people from the area, the committee has a passionate belief that older people, particularly those who are on limited incomes, should have access to affordable, safe, purpose-built accommodation, says chairwoman Carole Parker.
"Abbeyfield Western Bay of Plenty has an option on a suitable piece of land in Katikati, and our primary focus is to raise the funding needed to firstly pay for the section and then to build the house."
Funding will come from various avenues including philanthropic trusts, individual donations and grants, and also through fundraising events.
Abbeyfield first started in the United Kingdom in the 50s as an answer to loneliness and isolation affecting many older people.
The concept was brought to New Zealand in the early 90s by a Wakefield GP looking for housing options for older people, and the first house was built in Nelson in 1992.
"Abbeyfield Houses are a small-scale retirement living option which is affordable, caring, and supportive of resident's health and wellbeing," says Carole.
An Abbeyfield house is home to between 11 and 14 residents. Each has their own private studio apartment with ensuite, and shares a common lounge, dining area and laundry.
Meals are provided by a cook/housekeeper, who is the only staff member; other support is provided by local volunteer committees. All-inclusive rent covers food, board and all the operating costs of the house, and is affordable if National Superannuation is the resident's only income.
Abbeyfield doesn't provide health care – residents are all capable of living independently, taking their own medications, and maintaining their own health. Abbeyfield research shows that residents have improved health and wellbeing, reduced loneliness and isolation and that higher-level care can be deferred by several years.
Carole says the caring interest of Abbeyfield volunteers is an important dimension of the Abbeyfield model.
"Abbeyfield houses are operated by volunteer members of a not-for-profit Abbeyfield Incorporated Society (the 'local Society') which has entered into an affiliation agreement with Abbeyfield New Zealand Incorporated."
The Friday Plant & Produce Market in Katikati is a great way to find out about the Abbeyfield project. Talk to Pauline van Rijen at the Abbeyfield gazebo.
Funds raised from the stall go towards building the Abbeyfield house.
Local Tree Croppers, Bill and Elizabeth Rae have been raising vegetable seedlings which they have donated to Abbeyfield.
These were prepared for the Presbyterian Churches Paddy's Market, which has been cancelled this year due to Covid-19.
Carole says Abbeyfield WBoP is very appreciative of the opportunity to use the seedlings for their fundraising.
The seedlings will be available at the Friday Plant & Produce Market in time for spring planting. The market opens from 3.30-6pm, Katikati A&P Showgrounds - call in after the school pick up, or on the way home from work.