THE enterprising efforts of a group of dedicated local volunteers means elderly residents in the Upper Esk Valley are enjoying a high degree of care in their later years.
The group’s efforts over more than a decade have resulted in an impressive residential centre as well as numerous spin-offs providing a wide range of activities for people of all ages and employment for more than 20 people.
The venture began in 1997 when the group got together to discuss helping older folk in the area.
Elderly people living in isolated houses or in small villages, often without shops and transport meant many were having to move into residential care in towns, away from family, friends and places they had known all their lives.
Determined to try to remedy the situation, the group formed Esk Moors Action for the Elderly.
Helped with funding from a variety of organisations, its members conducted a local survey among people over the age of 60 to find out what they wanted in order to be able to stay where they were.
As a result a plan was made and new members were recruited from five parishes in the Upper Esk Valley.
From the plan came Esk Moors Lodge and the Bradbury Centre, a prominent building on the outskirts of Castleton conveniently close to the railway station.
The lodge resulted from a liaison with the Abbeyfield Society, an organisation formed in 1956 in London when a young Coldstream Guard named Richard Carr-Gomm became concerned about the number of lonely, elderly people he saw in his area.
With his army gratuity he bought a house and invited four lonely older people to join him.
They bought a second house in Abbeyfield Road, which gave its name to the society and so successful did the venture prove that now it is international with more than 400 houses and 80 care home in this country and throughout the world.
Its mission is “to enhance the quality of life for older people” and it is governed by a board of trustees.
Esk Moors Caring Limited is a registered charity and a not for profit organisation.
In Castleton, Esk Moor Lodge has 12 apartments, all for rent, described as “extra care apartments” offering accommodation for up to 18 people.
In order to live there, applicants must have a need for care and a strong local connection to the Upper Esk Valley.
The lodge came about as a result of immense fund raising efforts by the EMAE, whose members formed the Abbeyfield Esk Moors Society.
Spin-offs include Esk Moors Caring and Esk Moors Active as well as a Friends of Esk Moors Lodge group.
Their activities embrace both young and old throughout the area providing care in the community and a community bus as well as classes ranging from those held in the centre’s state-of-the-art gym to French, art, bridge and many more.
For more information about the centre and its activities call (01287) 669357.