More and more older people want to live independent lives, but in a communal flatting type situation, so why are Abbeyfield social housing providers finding it so hard to get funding from the government for new developments on the West Coast? Abbeyfield Houses are part of an international society of which there are eleven in New Zealand, with two more in the pipe-line. The movement began in England in 1956 by ex-Army officer Richard Carr-Gomm who thought it would be a good way for lonely, older people to live together as a family. There are about 900 Abbeyfield houses in 14 countries. Chris Armstrong is the General Secretary of Abbeyfield New Zealand.