A GRANT from Help the Aged has helped a community of Franciscan Sisters in Braintree, Essex, to complete a four year programme of expansion of their home for the elderly.
Demands for places at the home, one of the leading establishments of this kind in East Anglia, has been so acute in recent years that 500 to 600 old people have had to be turned down. Some of the applications came from as far away as the United States and Spain.
The appeal for the finance required to allow the scheme to proceed began four years ago under the chairmanship of Sir John Ruggles-Brice.
With much local support, particularly from the chaplain to the sisters, the Rt Rev Mgr John Roche, the appeal was able to raise £360,000, including loans and a grant of £10,000 from Help the Aged.
The home, originally set up to provide care for 16 residents, is now capable of housing 77 elderly people. A new wing has been completed which comprises a, series of spacious and attractive double rooms.
Residents have easy access to a number of bathrooms with all the latest equipment so that even the most handicapped can be given a bath without too much difficulty.
The scheme also involved enlarging, modernising and furnishing an existing building in order to enable the sisters to extend their work.
The Franciscan sisters first moved to Bocking in Braintree 80 years ago from their original establishment in the Portobello Road, Bayswater, London. The house they moved into was originally owned by John Minton Courtauld, one of the family involved in the textile industry in the North and East Anglia.
The last 12 months in particular have been a period of great achievement. New kitchen quarters have been completed and equipped as has a large and modern laundry room. The old central wing has been restored and modernised and whole of the three-phase reconstruction and expansion programmes has been completed on schedule.
The home is directly administered by six of the Franciscan Sisters, aided by a dedicated staff numbering 46. Many of the residents are afflicted with illness and infirmities and need special attention. The oldest resident, Mrs Stallybrass, is 101.