Fulfilled living in later life
Life at Homesdale

Thursday 30th May 2024

Life at Homesdale

Sarah Walsh is General Manager at Homesdale, our care home and housing scheme in Wanstead, Northeast London, and the newest member of our family. She shares how it has been a blessing to many local older people over the years

On 30th October 1947 Rev Herbert Hunter of Woodford Baptist Church, the Church Treasurer, and Church Secretary attended an auction for No 7 New Wanstead.

The wife of the Church Treasurer recalled the three men “standing in the doorway of an old house” and “the rain was just pouring down, but the three of them were having a prayer meeting before going to the estate agents with an offer to buy that house”.

The bid was made and accepted, and the vision of Rev Hunter to provide a home which offered Christian care to the elderly of the church and local community had begun.

Since that early vision Homesdale has grown, with the addition of No 5 New Wanstead, to complete the residential care home with 18 beds. The two Victorian houses were joined together, and have been modified and extended over time, but still have the characteristics of the period, with large bay windows to the front.

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In the early 1980s came Hunter Court and Mountier Court offering 70 sheltered housing flats. Hunter Court takes its name from Homesdale’s founder, and Mountier Court is named after Fred Mountier who had been a Trustee since the 1950s, and who was the Honorary Secretary during the inception of the housing scheme project and a driving force behind its planning and building.

The Trustees felt it was the right decision to name the second housing block after Fred Mountier in recognition for his years of service at Homesdale and in his community.

Homesdale is situated in Wanstead, Northeast London. Wanstead very much has a village atmosphere with its Green, High Street and community activities. The High Street has plenty of cafés, restaurants and independent shops, alongside supermarkets, chemists, and a post office. With good transport links by road, Underground and bus but on the edge of Epping Forest, it offers the best elements of urban life but with a community feel.

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Whilst care and housing have their own separate spaces, Homesdale has always enjoyed coming together to connect through worship, activities and events. It is very much one family where everyone socialises and spends time with each other. We have a large lounge connecting our two housing blocks and this is where we regularly meet for a chat and a cuppa in the afternoon. There is a weekly service that takes place here so we can worship as one community, with our care home having a daily weekday service too.

The space is also used for games, quizzes, film afternoons, pool and table tennis and we love an afternoon tea, complete with sandwiches, cakes, and china cups. For larger gatherings such as entertainers, Christmas carols, and other special services, it means the whole Homesdale family can celebrate together.

Homesdale has maintained its link with Woodford Baptist Church and the Pastor is one of the ministers that attends to take the weekly service. The church community also attends for celebrations, bringing daffodils at Easter, gifts at Christmas and praying and chatting with those who live with us. Other ministers and pastors from local churches are involved in the weekly services and visiting.

Homesdale has two Pastoral Support Workers who arrange devotions, prayer meetings and Bible study and provide support where needed.

Michael, 82, has been at living at Homesdale with his wife for six years, but his links go back further to when he was a young man and Fred Mountier helped arrange his cabin for his passage to Colombia for missionary work. After moving back to London and becoming Pastor at Wanstead Baptist Church, Michael said when he retired, “Homesdale was the obvious place to come and I’m very happy here”.

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Dorothy, 85, applied to Homesdale because of the Christian ethos. She says, “When I came in, I just knew it was the right place for me – it’s secure, stable. Staff are friendly and caring and you can chat to them. The activities bring us together”.

I have worked at Homesdale for a number of years, and from my first day I felt the care, friendship and community that surrounds the home and housing, the feeling of family. There is the opportunity for worship and fellowship among those who live here and the staff, and I feel this is what makes Homesdale the extraordinary place it is.

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