This edition of The Royal Association will look at The Countess of Wessex’s role as Patron of the Brendoncare Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of older people.
The Brendoncare Foundation was established in 1984 by a GP from Winchester, Sir Ronald Gibson, who at the time was a champion for the rights of older people. Sir Ronald was convinced that the elderly were often let down by the institutions that were supposed to be looking after them. In light of this, Sir Ronald pioneered the idea of tailoring the full range of care to fit the changing needs of individuals.
Brendon was one of the first dual registered homes which provided both residential and nursing care under the one roof and in 1984, Sir Ronald Gibson approached Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother who graciously accepted the role of Patron of the charity. Sir Ronald became President and Harvey White became Chairman.
Brendoncare’s sole mission is to care for older people with dignity and respect providing this care in their care centres.They also tackle social isolation through friendship and well-being clubs, which they have over 70 of across the United Kingdom. The care centres provide long-term, intermediate as well as respite care and close care and also offer day-care services.
Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 2002, the Royal Household generously nominated The Countess of Wessex to become Patron of Brendoncare, a role which she happily got stuck in to. In late 2003, Sophie undertook her first engagement in her role as Patron when she opened a new cognitively impaired wing and day-care centre at Ronald Gibson House in London.
In 2004, The Countess of Wessex visited Woodhayes in Exeter in her role as Patron, this time being accompanied by her husband, The Earl of Wessex. She also officially opened the new Stildon care centre in East Grinstead. In February 2007, Sophie officially opened Brendoncare’s latest project, Brendoncare Knightwood in Chandlers Ford and its revolutionary new model of ‘Total Care Living’.
So that is Brendoncare Foundation, a charity who prides itself on treating every person it cares for as an individual as well as delivering its original mission of caring for older people with dignity and respect. Long may the Royal Association with this charity continue.
Featured Photo Credit: Royal Photography by Paul Ratcliffe