Virgo Care Homes began in April 1995 by Gwyneth Virgo who set up a small care home caring for 3 elderly service users at her own house situated at 39 Ton Road, Cwmbran. This home was called Garnsville Residential Home and operated from 1995 through till 2001.
In those 6 years the feedback from the service users and agencies that used Garnsville, such as Age Concern and Social Services was excellent and this resulted in Gwyneth looking to expand the home.
Initially a small extension was considered at Garnsville, however Hollylodge Residential Home, which was also situated in Ton Road came up for sale in early 2000 and by Gwyneth joining up with her daughter in law Nanette and her son Mark they were able to purchase the home in December 2000 with Gwyneth becoming the Registered Manager as well as the Owner.
Hollylodge had suffered a lack of investment in the years prior to 2000 and the partners invested heavily in the home, subsequently increasing the capacity to 29 service users and the excellent reputation that Gwyneth had gained at Garnsville was brought to Hollylodge, again being recognised by service users, families and agencies alike.
In 2004 Gwyneth and Nanette again looked at expanding and at the time Silver Birches Nursing Home which was situated on Victoria Street, Old Cwmbran came up for sale. Silver Birches was originally the old Cwmbran Development Corporation building and is a large building which was renovated in later life to a hotel called the Centre Hotel and then to the Nursing Home.
Silver Birches was purchased in April 2005 and once again the home had suffered a lack of investment and the same pattern took place with Gwyneth and Nanette investing heavily in refurbishing the home and also changing the name of the home to Thomas Gabrielle Nursing Home after Gwyneth’s parents Thomas and Gabrielle Compton, Nanette now became the Registered Manager at Thomas Gabrielle.
In 2012 a purpose built dementia care home was built at the rear of Thomas Gabrielle, aptly named Thomas Gabrielle EMI Residential Home (TGEMI) although the home is run as its own entity, the close proximity of both homes makes collaboration very easy.
Gwyneth is now the Registered Manager of TGEMI whilst Debbie Michna who has been the Deputy Manager at Hollylodge for 10 years is now the Registered Manager at Hollylodge.
Since Gwyneth and Nanette began they have never charged “Top Ups” to families and they continue to work with that ethos, they do however campaign for fairer fee levels in care homes so they can continue to provide the care and entertainment the clients deserve.
The history of the homes wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the core members of staff who have been with Gwyneth, Nanette and Mark since the respective homes were purchased and without whom a lot of the good work wouldn’t have been possible.