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Abbeyfield began in 1956 when Richard Carr-Gomm became so concerned at the number of sad elderly faces staring fixedly from windows during a visit to Bermondsey, that he resigned his commission with the Coldstream Guards, moved from Chelsea Barracks to a bed-sit in Abbeyfield Road and became a home help. During his visits he found that loneliness was the problem and so he spent his army gratuity on a house in Eugenia road and invited four lonely people to join him. By Christmas 1956 he had become the very first Abbeyfield housekeeper.
A group of interested people (one of whom became Mrs. Carr-Gomm) had been meeting at a house in Abbeyfield Road, hence the title given to the Society. In the space of two years six houses were opened in Bermondsey, housing 26 older people.
By the end of 1960, Abbeyfield societies had been formed in 8 London boroughs and in 15 localities outside London. An essential feature of the idea was - and still is - help by voluntary workers for older people in their own communities. the parent society was incorporated as the Abbeyfield Society and is a nucleus for the whole movement.
The national Society has now grown to include nearly 600 societies throughout the United Kingdom with around 920 houses providing accommodation for over 8,500 residents, involving perhaps as many as 15,000 volunteers, and serviced by a small staff at its office in St. Albans.