Care charity celebrates as duchess is back for seconds
The duchess meets James Haftel, watched by JBD chair John Joseph
There was a royal return for Jewish Blind and Disabled when the Duchess of Gloucester opened its £10.6 million development in Bushey, Cecil Rosen Court, on Wednesday.
For the duchess had also formally opened the charity's original Cecil Rosen Court - named after the JBD founder - in Wembley 20 years ago.
She unveiled a plaque and met tenants and their families at the newest of the seven properties run by JBD, which has a capacity of 60.
The aim of all the charity's establishments is to allow those with physical disability or visual impairment to lead independent lives in a supportive environment.
"I'm really delighted to be here to open Cecil Rosen Court for a second time," the duchess said. "I have had real pleasure in meeting the residents and I'm quite impressed you are nearly full, having only opened a short time ago.
I've been in four or five places and this is the most wonderful
"To see you all settled in so well says an awful lot. I want to congratulate everyone who has made it possible."
Among those living in the state-of-the-art property is Karen Davis, 47, who said: "I've been in four or five different residential places and this is the most wonderful. I moved in on the 12th of March and I'm not moving out. The people here are a mixture of young old and everybody helps each other. I've made friends and have a great social life."
James Haftel 25, who has cerebral palsy, was one of the first to move in and likes both being close to his family and feeling "part of such a wonderful community.
"But what is really great is that being here gives me the opportunity to be independent and that is really important. It is a safe place where I can tackle the challenges of life," Mr Haftel added.
Andrea Stacey, who has multiple sclerosis, said being at Cecil Rosen Court had rescued her from loneliness and isolation after the death of her husband.
"I couldn't cope on my own but here I have an independent life and I feel safe," she said. "If I want to mix I can mix. If I don't, I know I am safe in my home."
JBD chair John Joseph told guests: "We cannot sit back on our laurels. We must stand up to the challenges that we need to solve and we have high demand for more accommodation like this.
"So if any of you have a spare acre of land you want to give us, don't hesitate."