Villa 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 also as a gathering point and 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. It is now open to all cultures, religions and nationalities but Italian is still the most spoken language.
The Scalabrini Fathers, missionaries for migrants, are trustees to 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 more than thirty years within the Italian community in Great Britain, noticed the need of a care home for the Italians, especially 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.
In June 1986 the building works were completed and the first residents entered the home the following month.
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 January 8th 1984, was composed of Dr Alberto Zamblera (chairman), Comm. Serafino Fiori (president), Giovanni Cavaciuti, Cav. Uff. Florindo Rizzi (vice-president), Cav. Nino Avogadri (treasurer), Silvio Grossi (vice-chairman, Esperia Lewis (secretary).
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 we’ve 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, memory boxes, etc.
When the works are completed, Villa Scalabrini will have 3 Units, one on the ground floor and 2 on the first floor.
We look forward to seeing the project completed, and we congratulate in advance all the people involved.