Moderator officially opens Trinity House

18.12.2017 | Mission News, Social Witness, Moderator

With a 42-strong choir from Garvagh Primary School and local harpists making it a special Christmas celebration, Presbyterian Moderator Rt. Rev. Dr. Noble McNeely has officially opened Trinity House in Garvagh, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s (PCI’s) newest residential care home.

The official opening follows a £1.5 million 17-month redevelopment and refurbishment programme, which also saw 20 residents from PCI’s former care homes – Ard Cluan in Londonderry and York House in Portrush – relocate to Trinity House in October.

Dr. McNeely said, “With the founding of First Garvagh in 1658, there has been a strong Presbyterian witness in the town, and together with our congregation in Main Street, Trinity House will also bring a very special social witness to the area, which is also a demonstration of God’s love for people.

“As Christians we are called to reflect that love and it is no coincidence that the name chosen for the new home symbolically reflects this love and the coming together of the three homes into one, while marking it with a distinct Christian identity. This love for others is also illuminated in the special signage in the reception area, which proclaims in large letters: ‘People Matter To God’.”

Like all PCI homes, Trinity House welcomes residents from all denominations and seeks to provide care in a specifically Christian ethos and environment. The Council for Social Witness has overall management responsibility for the residential care homes and its other services, including Trinity House. The new home has 50 en suite rooms on one level, which increases the Church’s overall residential care provision for older people in the northwest. It also has 16 rooms available for people living with a dementia and a dementia-friendly sensory garden, the third of PCI’s residential care homes to have one.

Three residents took part in the official opening with the Moderator, two former residents from Ard Cluan and York House, and one who has just made Trinity House her home. Margaret Bell, who lived in York House for 13 years and helped to cut the ribbon said, “I have settled in well and the carers are all very kind,” she said. “The big difference is that York House is at the seaside and Trinity is in the country, but it’s a very good clean modern place and everything is lovely.”

Linda Wray, PCI’s Residential and Supported Services Manager, said that she was delighted that the staff and residents who had relocated, and the new staff and residents had settled in well. “There is a strong sense of community in Garvagh, and Trinity House, alongside our two congregations who have been a part of that community for many years, will play unique part in the life of the town.

“This has been a long journey for us since we announced in May last year that we were to open here in Garvagh. As a care provider we are committed to improving the standard of our facilities and with Trinity House we have also been able to increase our overall residential care capacity. This also includes providing for people living with a dementia in a specially designed 16 bedroom unit that opens onto a secure shared sensory garden,” she said.

The official opening was attended by ministers from the two local Presbyterian Churches and other ministers in the area, along with business people and guests from the local community and resident’s family members. Minister of First Kilrea and Boveedy and convener of the Council for Social Witness, Rev. Dr. Trevor McCormick said that the opening marked a new beginning.

“This is a new opportunity for us as a Church to provide much needed residential care and specific care for people living with dementia. It wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication of so many people, from architects Knox and Markwell and contractor P J McKeague, to all the dedicated PCI staff involved in getting us to this stage today.

“We have also appreciated the extensive support of local people and the many volunteers, including the local Boys’ Brigade, who helped in so many practical ways, especially in the final weeks of preparation, to welcome residents to their new home. Trinity House will be a welcoming and caring home and I hope and pray that all who come to live and work here will be very happy indeed,” he said.

Dr. McCormick also thanked the celebrated artist and sculptor Ross Wilson, who had been commissioned to create a number of features in the home. These included specially designed window motifs in the chapel and engraved Presbyterian bushes, which appear on two windows.

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