by CHRIS GRAEME
Despite difficult economic times, the British Retirement Home (BRH) in São Pedro de Estoril is full for the first time in many years.
The Quinta da Fonte residence, founded in 1988 as a voluntary organisation, caters for 18 residents, including some temporary who might enjoy a stay from one to three months to recover from hospitalisation or because family members such as sons and daughters are out of the country.
“For some of these temporary residents, the period of stay may become a test case to see if they might be happy with us permanently,” said Michael Simpson, the Chairman of the BRH, who added that the ratio of permanent to temporary residents stood at around 70/30.
“Most guests who stay with us temporarily are rarely with us for less than one month and some can stay with us up to three months if they are recovering from a hip operation after a fall, for example,” he told the Algarve Resident.
Michael Simpson’s comments were made at the annual, well-attended garden party at Quinta da Fonte, which is so popular now that prospective residents were jokingly advised by the British Ambassador Alex Ellis to “put their names down on the waiting list well in advance”.
Michael Simpson explained that short-term respite was a relatively new phenomenon at the BRH because traditionally the residence had “never set up for that” but admitted that times and tendencies were changing.
The BRH chairman also made a point of thanking the tireless hard work and support from the community, the Royal British Club (RBC), the Women’s Royal Volunteer Service, (WRVS) and the British Charitable Fund which helps people in dire circumstances.
Both the Board of Directors and the Fiscal Board are made up of five and three members respectively while the Fiscal Board includes current or former business people with one member who was Chairman of the Cheshire Home and another, Bruce Dawson, Chairman of the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce.
“We don’t have a (high) turnover of staff which is important for the residents in terms of continuity and shows how dedicated our 16 fully-trained full and part-time staff are to the BRH,” said Michael Simpson who described the residence’s Technical Director, Pam Santos, as the “driving force for the whole operation”.
Thanks were also given to nurse Anabela Sousa, Ruth, Simon, Pam, Pat, Judith, Rosemary Adams and Ruth Hurst (both from the WRVS), many of whom had “spent much of their time over the week in the kitchens preparing nibbles for the event”.
The Garden Party was also an opportunity for friends and supporters within the British and Portuguese communities to meet the new British Consul in Lisbon, Simona Demuro and chat to the British Ambassador’s wife Teresa Ellis.
For more information on helping the British Retirement Home and finding out about its services, please visit the BRH website at www.brhportugal.com.