Glenbrook House celebrates 30 years

Glenbrook House tenant, Joseph Blumenstein, enjoys watching the birds in his aviary in his back garden.
Glenbrook House tenant, Joseph Blumenstein, enjoys watching the birds in his aviary in his back garden.

Glenbrook House in Derry has just celebrated its 30th birthday.

To mark the big day, the scheme held a party for its tenants, their families and friends.

Residents of Glenbrook House smile for the camera at the 30th birthday celebrations.

Residents of Glenbrook House smile for the camera at the 30th birthday celebrations.

Situated at Glenbrook Terrace in the Rosemount area of the city, the scheme - owned and managed by Apex Housing Association - offers sheltered accommodation for people over the age of 60.

Jane Diver, manager of Glenbrook House, says it is hard to believe that the scheme is 30-years-old and has supported so many people over the years.

“At Glenbrook, we aim to encourage older people to stay independent and active and give people the chance to have their say and be listened to,” she says.

“With age comes a wealth of experience, knowledge and a lot of laughs that we recognise as invaluable.

Glenbrook House residents at the 30th birthday celebrations.

Glenbrook House residents at the 30th birthday celebrations.

“Glenbrook is such a welcoming homely place that I have to admit some days it doesn’t feel like I’m coming to work.

“We’re like one big family all looking out for each other.”

One of the tenants at Glenbrook House is Joseph Blumenstein, originally from South Limburg in the Netherlands, but living in Derry for the past 23 years.

Joseph moved to Glenbrook around a year ago and says he’s never regretted it for a second.

“It’s great to live here,” he says. “I have neighbours who are now very good friends.

“I still have my independence and I enjoy my unofficial role as the scheme’s handyman.

“It’s nice to be able to help others with small jobs they mightn’t be able to do themselves.”

Joseph has built an aviary in his back garden where he keeps canaries and finches. It is, he says, a dream come true.

“Once I retired, my dream was always to have an aviary for birds,” he says.

“My health isn’t great. I’ve come through depression, cancer, a heart attack and I suffer from COPD. I always enjoyed walking but the cancer treatment destroyed my hips and the COPD affects my breathing, so now I can’t walk very far at all.

“Sitting in my back garden and watching the birds is my therapy now. I could sit there for hours. My neighbours love the birds, too, and have been so supportive..”

Glenbrook House consists of one three-bedroom house, eight one and two-bedroom bungalows and thirty self-contained one-bedroom flats in a purpose-built two-storey building.

The scheme offers a secure door entry system and an emergency call system in each room of the flats and bungalows.

Set in landscaped gardens with patio areas, it is within easy reach of all local amenities and has good transport links to the city centre.