Charlene Fleck, Manager of Abbeyfield House, Keynsham
Hello and thank you for your interest in Abbeyfield House, Keynsham.
After working in Abbeyfield House for 8 years, I had the privilege of becoming house manager 4 years ago and have truly enjoyed every minute. I’m fortunate to work with a fantastic team of cooks and assistants, some of whom have worked in the house for 25 years, and over!
Our gorgeous house, here in Westbourne Avenue, has been an Abbeyfield house for over 30 years, and is now an integral part of the community. The house underwent a huge refurbishment a few years ago and is a fabulous, warm and friendly place to live and work.
We are part of a wonderful family here, not just in Keynsham, but within our own walls too. The fact that we immerse ourselves in the community is so important to our residents. We have lots of lovely volunteers, many of whom have a connection with a resident and dozens of Keynsham families and individuals in the town have come to visit over the years, for one reason or another. It’s wonderful when I hear people say, “This is fabulous! One day I’d like to live here!”
The house has strong links with the local churches, who also carry out services within the house; Brownie groups, who visit us regularly and undertake activities in the grounds; the fantastic Mencap Keynsham choir, where my god-daughter leads the performances; and of course, Keynsham in Bloom – the local horticultural society whose gardening competitions we enter every year.
Residents really appreciate the companionship within the House, especially at this time of their lives. Many tell us they were lonely in a house on their own. They might have been worried about looking after their home and about things like shopping for themselves during Winter
Most residents who come to us are very independent and, although they might have family nearby, being on their own was a constant worry. Having a team member on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is hugely reassuring for them.
Everyone who has come for a trial period has opted to stay in the house, which is a lovely accolade. It really doesn’t take long for people to settle in here.
The Covid-19 pandemic this year has been difficult for everyone and I’m just so grateful that we haven’t had anyone fall ill with the virus in the house. I’m very grateful for the way our residents have responded to the new restrictions and that they have appreciated the reasons for the changes we’ve had to make. We are still accepting new residents but do ask them to self-isolate in their private apartment for 10 days when they first arrive.
Our newest resident joined us just after the main lock down. She is 91 years old and had been on her own at home. She’s over the moon to be here. She’s seeing people every day, sharing meal times and having conversations every day with new friends. It’s wonderful to see her smiling away.