Abbeyfield The Dales: giving older people a community

Abbeyfield The Dales gives older people the chance to enjoy life as part of a supportive community. It offers residents tailored housing solutions in addition to high-quality care and support, freshly cooked meals and a full calendar of social activities.

Social Problem

One in three people born in the UK today will develop dementia.[1] The condition often leads to loneliness and social exclusion, as sufferers become isolated in their homes and struggle with day-to-day tasks. This has a significant impact on the individual, but also on their family network who will often act as carers, creating concern and anxiety for all concerned.

Abbeyfield dales yorkshire housing

One of the residents' rooms at Abbeyfield The Dales


Abbeyfield The Dales offers a range of housing solutions for older people in Yorkshire, including independent flats, supported housing, independent living with extra care and residential care facilities. The charity can support people with conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s and believes in giving older people a home where they can socialise, feel safe and enjoy life again as part of a vibrant community.


Abbeyfield The Dales took out loans with Charity Bank and another social lender to buy one of its properties – Fern House, which specialises in dementia-care and was previously owned by the national Abbeyfield housing association. The charity can now cater for up to 100 residents across Fern House’s 30-room care home and 49 flats. Fern House also has space the community can use and enjoy alongside residents for a series of planned or informal activities.


Fern House is more than just a housing complex and care home – it’s a community. Residents enjoy regular social events and activities, such as creative writing, IT skills, seated cricket and trips to the theatre. They’re able to build friendships, spend time in the wheelchair-friendly garden, and socialise in several dining and living areas. Children from the nearby school often visit, and residents can also take part in short courses with people from the local community. Many residents in Fern House live independently in their own flat with either no or minimal support and enjoy the range of facilities and activities provided. There is an on-site care team who can provide support and assistance to residents as their needs increase to enable them to continue to live in their own home; this includes a number of residents in the early stages of their dementia journey. Dementia can be a frightening, isolating experience, but Abbeyfield The Dales is helping people to live life to the full once again. Having two services under one roof at Fern House (housing with extra care and residential care) enables Abbeyfield The Dales to offer a tailored and flexible service to residents so that an individual can receive the service and support they need in the right setting for them.


“Buying Fern House has given us greater autonomy. We’re able to make decisions much quicker and have a direct relationship with our residents without being answerable to The Abbeyfield Society. I see the loan as a springboard for longer term improvements and growth for Abbeyfield The Dales. Charity Bank aligns with our values, clearly understands the charity sector and took time to get to know us.”

Philip Birkinshaw, Chief Executive, Abbeyfield The Dales
Abbeyfield dales yorkshire housing association

“I am very happy with all aspects of my care and support. Everyone is very kind and helpful. I have settled in very well."

- A Fern House resident

“The care my mum has received has been excellent… She has been amazingly happy, settled and looked after since she moved into the residential wing, so thank you to all the staff.”

- Daughter of a Fern House resident

Last reviewed: 27/04/2020