Critical juncture for housing-with-care as momentum gathers towards ARCO Conference

Cross-sector backing for housing-with-care grows ahead of November event

With the housing-with-care sector attracting growing interest and the Government ready to announce a new task force on housing for older people, leading organisations from different sectors have thrown their weight behind the eagerly anticipated conference being hosted by ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) in November.

Increasing attention has been paid to the housing-with-care sector due to its strong performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping residents healthy and well, and helping them to maintain social connections at a time of physical isolation.

ARCO, the representative body for the sector, has led calls for a cross-government housing-with-care task force to be established, so the sector can be expanded and its benefits brought to hundreds of thousands more older people.

Following an open letter to the Prime Minister in March calling for the 2020s to be the “decade of housing-with-care”, signed by over 40 politicians, academics, charity and private sector leaders, Ministers have confirmed they are considering the proposals for a new task force.

ARCO’s 5th Annual Conference, due to be held from 3rd-4th November 2021 in London, will provide a pivotal platform for bringing together the leading voices on housing-with-care and inspiring debate on how to take the sector forward.

The conference has already attracted leading organisations from a diverse range of sectors, with ARCO announcing that real estate experts JLL will be Platinum Sponsors for the event. Silver Sponsors include the planning consultancy Carterwood and law firm Trowers & Hamlins LLP, while Bronze Sponsors feature the care provider Helping Hands and technology experts Sherpa. A small number of remaining sponsorship opportunities remain.

The conference attracts hundreds of senior leaders from across the sector, and has seen addresses from Government Ministers, major investors, international experts and regulators in the past.

On the agenda at the What Next? 2021 conference will be the evolving landscape for housing-with-care over the last 18 months, the importance of clearly defining the sector, ways to create meaningful policy change, and ensuring a zero-carbon future for housing-with-care.

Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, said:

“At this critical moment for housing-with-care and with Government action to spur the sector imminent, we’re delighted to have some great organisations with wide-ranging expertise sponsoring this year’s ARCO conference.

“It is more important than ever that we bring people together from different sectors, including law, planning, real estate, social care and technology, so we can lay the best path ahead for the housing-with-care sector and help brings its benefits to many more older people.

“I’d like to thank our excellent sponsors for their support, and look forward to welcoming a big audience to our conference in November.”

Anthony Oldfield, Director of Healthcare Capital Markets at JLL, said:

“We’re delighted to be sponsoring the ARCO Annual Conference in November, which will provide a great forum for discussion and debate on the housing-with-care sector at this uniquely important moment for the sector.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the need for new, innovative ways of supporting older people, and with a new task force on the horizon and the Government due to bring forward its social care reform plans, now is the time to put rocket-boosters on the growth of housing-with-care.

“This context makes this year’s ARCO conference more timely than ever, and we can’t wait to hear from leading voices from across the sector and government, and to share ideas with a wide range of high-level experts.”


For Further Information Please Contact

Sam Dalton, Policy and External Affairs Manager, at or on 07722553856


Notes to editors

1. About ARCO: Founded in 2012, ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) is the principle body representing both private and not-for-profit operators of housing-with-care schemes in the UK. ARCO’s members aim to provide housing and care solutions to an additional 150,000 people over the next 10 years. We work in three distinct areas, each vital in supporting our Members and growing the sector that helps people to live independently for longer.

  • Setting the Policy Agenda: delivered through policy campaigning work with MPs, Peers, Government Ministers, Local Authorities and other key sector stakeholders to influence the future of much-needed sector specific legislation.
  • Compliance & Regulation: delivered through our Consumer Code and standards framework, with continual assessments of Members to drive high standards for customer and resident experience.
  • Knowledge Sharing and Best Practice: delivered through our extensive events programme, annual What Next? Conference, Network bulletins, online Knowledge Bank, and ARCO Analytics.

2. About Retirement Communities/housing-with-care: Retirement Communities sit in between traditional retirement houses (which have less extensive staffing and leisure facilities), and care homes, and can be set in urban or suburban locations. There is a growing body of evidence which shows that Retirement Communities keep older people healthy, well and independent for longer – reducing the overall level of care they need and keeping them out of care homes and hospitals. Currently about 77,000 people live in Retirement Communities in the UK but this number is set to grow to 250,000 people by the end of the decade. Retirement Communities are the fastest growing form of social care provision in the UK – with demand significantly exceeding current supply. Typically consisting of individual one or two bedroom flats or houses, located in a development with similar properties, residents have access to a range of services and facilities, which will include optional on-site care, 24-hour staffing, and dining and leisure facilities, and may also include bars, gyms and craft rooms. Retirement Communities are also sometimes referred to as housing-with-care schemes, retirement villages, extra care housing, assisted living, or close care apartments.

3. The benefits of Housing-with-Care: Housing-with-care has shown during the outbreak that it can help residents to self-isolate independently. A particular advantage of this form of retirement provision is that residents can access the highest levels of support from staff through care, meals, regular phone check-ins and a wide range of online activities.
More broadly, housing-with-care brings a range of great benefits to older people and our country as a whole:

  • Delivering savings to the social care system: Providing social care for those with lower-level needs costs £1,222 (17.8%) less per person per year, and for those with higher-level needs £4,556 (26%) less than in other care settings.
  • Boosting health and the NHS: By improving the physical and mental health of residents, costs like GP, nurse and hospital visits reduce by 38%. £5.6bn in cost savings will be made for health and social care if 250,000 over-65s live in housing-with-care by 2030
  • Freeing up family homes: 562,000 bedrooms will be released to the market for all generations if the sector achieves its 2030 growth targets.
  • Efficient use of land: Apartments for older people are built using up to six times less space than family homes.
  • Tackling loneliness: Residents are five times as likely as non-residents to participate in social events, and four times as likely to get together with friends.

These benefits have been clearly demonstrated during the coronavirus outbreak. The provision of care, meals and support onsite has played a key role in keeping residents well and healthy. Housing-with-care has been central to cutting hospital admissions, reducing strain on the NHS and providing crucial step-down capacity once people could leave hospital.

4. Our call for a Housing-with-Care Task Force: The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on our social care system and forced us to reflect on the fact that we need to develop new models of care.

There is a huge gap in the current social care landscape for housing and care options that sit between care homes, and people receiving care in homes that may no longer suit their needs. For older people without acute care needs, the UK needs to grow the provision of models that enable them to live independently for as long as possible: with onsite care and support if needed, boosting health and wellbeing, reducing pressure on the NHS and strengthening social connection.

That’s why ARCO is calling for the swift establishment of a cross-government Housing-with-Care Task Force to accelerate the growth of the housing-with-care sector. Backed by a range of high-profile supporters, we believe a Task Force is the best mechanism through which barriers to growth can be identified, and recommendations for change made. Only by working together can we establish new options that compliment and extend the existing social care landscape in the UK.