Mrs & Ms Carne
Far from winding down since arriving at St Saviour’s Court in 2007, Gwen Carne and her mother, also Gwen Carne, have found a new lease of life.
Shopping, taking the tram and even the occasional game of darts are just some of the things the younger Gwen enjoys: “It’s not like sheltered housing here, it’s just like a happy home. Where we used to live in Bermondsey we tended to be quite self-contained but here we mix with people more.”
While mother and daughter both loved their old flat in Bermondsey and have a deep connection to the area, they worried that it was becoming noisier and incidents of anti-social behaviour were increasing. So when the younger Gwen spotted an advertisement for St Saviour’s in the local Southwark News, she applied straightaway: “It looked so beautiful I didn’t think we stood a chance of getting in!” The flat also met the approval of Gwen’s two older brothers, George and Arthur. “They really encouraged us to come here,’ says Gwen, “it’s made a difference to their lives knowing that we’re safe and happy.”
“We keep pinching ourselves to make sure it’s real,” says the older Gwen, who is happy to be left alone while her daughter visits the shops knowing that if she has any difficulties help is close at hand from the on-site warden. “There’s a big Tesco up the road and it’s just two bus-stops to Croydon, which has some beautiful shopping,” says the younger Gwen. “I’m more adventurous now than I’ve ever been. I just feel happier in myself and want to experience more things.
“I used to think that sheltered accommodation was for really old people. But here you’re left to live your own life, and you can join in if you want to. Everything is on offer if you want to take it up.”