FEATURES » A brief history of Villa Scalabrini Shenley

A brief history of Villa Scalabrini Shenley

Scalabrini represents a milestone in the history of the Italian community in the
UK: not only because it looks after some of the pioneer Italian immigrants, but
because it also serves as a gathering point and provides one of the
headquarters of the fund raising events of the Italian associations in London.

The Catholic care home in Shenley in Hertfordshire was established in 1986,
mainly for the Italian community.  Although it is now open to all cultures, religions and nationalities Italian is still
the most spoken language in the home.

The Scalabrini Fathers, missionaries for migrants, are trustees of the home
while the Sisters of the Angels, a Polish congregation of nuns, help with the
general running of the home.

The Scalabrini Fathers, after working for more than thirty years within the Italian community in Great Britain, recognised
there was a need for a care home for the Italians, not least because most of them couldn’t speak any English.

The property in Shenley was purchased In July 1983 with funds advanced by the
Scalabrini Fathers. The development of the building was possible thanks to the
financial assistance of the Italian community. A committee had been formed with the aim of running a campaign for
assistance and support for the Villa Scalabrini project. The committee, which met on 8th January 1984, was composed of Dr Alberto Zamblera
(chairman), Comm. Serafino
Fiori (president), Giovanni Cavaciuti, Cav. Uff. Florindo Fizzi
(vice-president), Cav. Nino Avogadri (treasurer),
Silvio Grossi (vice-chairman) and  Esperia Lewis (secretary).

In June 1986 the building works were completed and the first residents
entered the home the following month.

Father Alberto Vico, founder and present director, managed the home with
the help of three sisters from the order “Figlie di Nostra Signora della
Misericordia di Savona”.

In the past Villa Scalabrini has received support from known and anonymous donors, “the
Italian Medical Hospital”, “Mazzini Garibaldi Charitable Foundation”, and “Il
Circolo”, to mention a few.

As already mentioned in a previous article, by the end of March 2013 a new
dementia unit will be added to the already existing building. 

The project, which has a cost of about half a million pounds, has been approved and secured
by the headquarters of the Scalabrini Fathers in Europe, based in Basel,
Switzerland. It includes an extension of 120 m² which will provide areas for
residents to have their meals; seating and walking areas; access areas to the
garden; sensory rooms and memory boxes, etc.

When the works are completed, Villa Scalabrini will have comprise three units, one on
the ground floor and two on the first floor.

We look forward to seeing the project completed, and we congratulate in advance all the
people involved.


Giulia Lombardo

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