The Abbeyfield Society’s newly-elected Chairman Ian Plaistowe has “hugely ambitious” plans for the older people’s housing and care charity.
“There seems to be a feeling about at the moment that older people have never had it so good,” said the incoming Chairman. “While that may be true for some, it hardly reflects the experience of the majority of the elderly in Britain who struggle to fund the care they require.”
Commenting on taking up the Chairmanship of the Abbeyfield Society, he continued: “I am honoured to lead this charity that has such an outstanding track record in supporting older people over the past 60 years. I am hugely ambitious for the Society and intend to speak out on issues of importance to the people who live, work and volunteer with us.”
Plaistowe is clearly looking forward to the challenge of his new role and to championing the cause of older people, reflecting Abbeyfield’s mission to alleviate loneliness. He said: “I can’t help but be fearful for the increasing numbers of older people who will need support in the future. If we aren’t very careful we are going to end up with a two tier country where some will be able to afford beautiful homes and the best of care and the rest will be left struggling. The Government has to provide the framework to address this and if that means prioritising older people in need over other areas of spending like overseas aid then so be it.”
The new chairman is a chartered accountant and was a senior partner at Arthur Andersen until he retired in 2002. He has been Chairman of Abbeyfield’s Audit Committee for the last six years. He has been President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and Chairman or Vice Chairman of several charities including the Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants, the Council of The University of Buckingham, the FPA and The Beacon Educational Trust.
Plaistowe takes over from retiring Chairman John Robinson CBE. In his six years Robinson turned around the charity’s finances, instigated quality standards and focused on staff and volunteers making time for residents in Abbeyfield’s care. He also took the organisation into new areas of specialism, resulting in an innovative state-of-the-art dementia care home due to open next year, built around the needs of its residents.
Reflecting on how to continue this progress through his own future plans, Plaistowe said: “Within Abbeyfield I am focused absolutely on providing the people who live with us outstanding support. I will be doing everything I can to reinforce Abbeyfield’s unique approach. Time and again I see our staff and volunteers making time to find out what really makes each older person in their care tick and ensuring that they nurture and respect this. It’s a huge privilege to be involved with such an inspirational charity.”
Plaistowe was elected as Chairman at The Abbeyfield Society’s AGM on 23 July at St Martin-in-the-Fields, which preceded an Abbeyfield service of thanksgiving.
The Abbeyfield Society is an international charity set up in 1956 to alleviate loneliness and improve the quality of life for older people. With more than 500 homes and houses across the UK and internationally, the charity cares for some 8,000 older people and has 4,000 volunteers.