Below are some of the photographs from a summer’s day spent photographing life at Huggens College in Kent. Founded by John Huggens in 1847, a corn merchant of Sittingbourne, the charity provides almshouse accommodation for members of the Church of England who are over 60 and who have limited financial resources. Whilst independent living is also a criteria for living here, I found the sense of community inspiring.
The Chapel is at the heart of the community, but the allotment garden, the communal games and activities, all added to the atmosphere of community – something so lacking in so many modern societies, especially for the elderly.
The sense of friendship and community was palpable. Working as a professional photographer is varied – the places I go, the people I meet – every shoot is different and this one was particularly memorable for not just the laughter and goodwill shown by everyone who took part, but also the sense that life here was a little slower and perhaps a little richer in some ways.
Everyone was willing to take time. Modern life, especially in London, can be crazy in pace. We get so caught up in doing and rushing, we become a bit wired and disconnected so it was a refreshing change to spend a day with people happy to take life a little slower – people who take time to cultivate a garden or allotment patch, to play a game of croquet, to join together in a chapel service, or just sit on a bench having a chat. Simple pleasures that nourish the soul and help us to feel less lonely and disconnected. I’m sure like any community there are problems and challenges to deal with but it was a real privilege to spend a day here in the company of those living at Huggens College.