Abbeyfield chief receives royal recognition

Geraldine Gilpin, chief executive of Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association, receiving her Royal Patron's Award 2018 from Ian Plaistowe, Abbeyfield's chair.
Geraldine Gilpin, chief executive of Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association, receiving her Royal Patron's Award 2018 from Ian Plaistowe, Abbeyfield's chair.

The Carrickfergus-based chief executive of Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association has praised colleagues for their support after receiving a Royal Patron’s Award 2018.

Geraldine Gilpin’s efforts to enhance elder care provision in Northern Ireland were recognised recently when she received the prestigious honour, endorsed by HRH The Prince of Wales.

Abbeyfield and Wesley is a charity that provides both housing and care older people, supporting hundreds of residents through their 18 houses, homes and sheltered schemes.

Geraldine has been working for Abbeyfield since 1996. In fact, Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association itself is the product of a number of mergers which have taken place during her stewardship. The organisation in its current form is very much a product of her leadership, inspiration and dedication.

Geraldine was presented with her Royal Patron Award 2018 at a special ceremony in London.

She said: “It is a real honour to be given this award. I love my job and I believe Abbeyfield & Wesley 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 bungalows and flats offering independent living for active elderly and supported sheltered houses for those requiring additional support while maintaining independence and residential care.

“We have an extensive network of staff and volunteers who work diligently to support and care for the elderly. I truly value their dedication and commitment to improving the residents’ quality of life; they live and breathe the Abbeyfield & Wesley ethos and I couldn’t do my job without them.”

Lady Hermon MP says: “I have always been hugely impressed by Geraldine’s obvious leadership skills, the great warmth of her personality and her real commitment to all of those connected with Abbeyfield & Wesley.

“Geraldine has spearheaded a number of initiatives and developments, to consistently improve the quality of life for older people and she is very deserving of this award.”

There are two Abbeyfield societies in Northern Ireland. Abbeyfield Belfast Society operates seven supported sheltered houses. Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association manages 18 supported, sheltered houses. In addition, the charity also runs a residential dementia care home in East Belfast and three sheltered schemes in Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey and Belfast.