Watling Court, a brand new extra care scheme in Gravesend, Kent, has been officially opened by The Viscount De L'Isle MBE, Lord-Lieutenant for the County of Kent at a well supported opening ceremony at the Gravesend home.
Over 200 people came along on the day to have a look around the scheme and meet the people who call it home, including Adam Holloway MP and Cllr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the Mayor of Gravesham.
Guests were welcomed by Robert Barnes, Chairman of The Abbeyfield Kent Society, before speeches by Cynthia Mastin, a resident at Watling Court and former Mayoress of Gravesham, and Nathan Sizer, a pupil at nearby Riverside Junior School, who named the home after Abbeyfield Kent set up a community partnership with the school early in its development. Lord De L'Isle then spoke about his impressions of the scheme and why he decided to get involved with the opening, before finally unveiling the plaque to declare the scheme officially open.
Guests and residents then mingled and took tours of the home, which was built on the site of an old Abbeyfield Kent residential home Valley Lodge. Watling Court welcomed its first resident in 2011, and provides housing and care to around 70 older people from the borough of Gravesham. Extra care is a concept that provides independent living with 24 hour-a-day care available when needed.
Abbeyfield Kent Chief Executive Leon Steer spoke at the event and was delighted with how well supported it was, commenting: "I am so pleased that we were finally able to officially open Watling Court, which has been a huge project for The Abbeyfield Kent Society. The day went very well and I was very pleased we received such great support from the local community. I am grateful to Lord and Lady De L'Isle for their support on the day and I'm very pleased that the occasion was marked with the attendance of someone of such significance to the county. It was great to be able to mark the start of our 45 year anniversary with such a wonderful occasion, I'm looking forward to a fantastic year of events."
Robert Barnes looks on as Lord De L'Isle officially opens Watling Court