MPs, Lords, charities and businesses show support for Retirement Communities

Over 80 Parliamentarians attend Retirement Communities Exhibition

MPs, Lords, charities and businesses show support for Retirement Communities

  • Retirement Community parliamentary exhibition attended by 80 parliamentarians
  • Sector receives strong support for ambition to provide for 250,000 people by 2030
  • Calls grow for sector to be formally recognised by Government


The UK took a significant step towards meeting the housing, support and care needs of its ageing population on Tuesday, with the Retirement Community sector receiving pledges of support from dozens of MPs and Lords, as well as charity and business leaders.

Hosting the sector’s first ever parliamentary event, members of ARCO (the Associated Retirement Community Operators) showcased the ambition and diversity of a sector providing housing, care and support services to older people. The event demonstrated the wide range of services on offer from both private and not-for-profit providers, as well as technological solutions to enable older people to live independently for as long as possible.

ARCO and its members have pledged action on 10 specific areas as part of its ‘Vision 2030’, aimed at providing Retirement Communities for 250,000 people by 2030. Central to many of these is a need for the Government to recognise the sector in its own right and ultimately to empower residents through a Retirement Communities Act for the UK.

The UK is lagging far behind comparable countries such as New Zealand, Australia and the USA – where between 5% and 6% of older people live in Retirement Communities. In the UK the figure is 0.6%, resulting in significant extra strain on the NHS and the social care system.

At the event dozens of MPs, Lords and other key figures pledged their support as Vision 2030 Supporters, with many more expected over the coming weeks and months.

Baroness Greengross who is the Patron of ARCO said:

“Retirement Communities can play a key role in solving the housing, social care and wellbeing crises facing this country. I and many of my colleagues are committed to doing all we can to help tens of thousands more people benefit from this amazing model and to bringing the UK closer to international standards.”


Glyn Davies MP who sponsored the event said:

“Retirement Communities are a very interesting sector who clearly have a huge amount to offer the UK’s health, social care and housing sectors. They are already making a big difference and I look forward to seeing them do more in future. Those of us in Parliament who support them are keen to do all we can to make sure that they get the clarity and recognition they need to grow.”

Michael Voges, Executive Director at ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators), said:

“As a sector we have great ambitions to enable tens of thousands of older people to live independent, fulfilled lives for as long as possible. Recent years have already seen significant growth in our sector. However, we need to do a lot more, and we are delighted that so many MPs, Lords, charity and business leaders have pledged their support to our Vision 2030”.


Nick Sanderson, CEO at Audley Group and Chair of ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) said:

The UK needs to rethink retirement living. With an ageing population and a housing supply issue, retirement villages are the best answer.  They provide, future-proofed properties, an active lifestyle and flexible care for older people, whilst also freeing up family homes at the top of the housing ladder.”


Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar, Executive Director of Marketing and Innovation at the Extra Care Charitable Trust said:

“It was great to discuss the future of the housing sector for older people, a topic that is extremely close to the heart of our charity and to have our resident Pauleen Davies, star of Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds, to represent the voice of our residents.”


Kris Peach, Director of Extra Care at Housing & Care 21 said:

“Helping older people to remain independent for as long as possible contributes to their overall wellbeing and is something that we’re committed to.

At Housing & Care 21, we develop all of our Extra Care schemes in partnership with local authorities and value close working relationships to ensure that the housing with care option works to provide an affordable housing option for older people. Experience has taught us that having a positive relationship built on co-operation and trust is fundamental to the success of a scheme”


David Williams, Chief Executive at the St Monica Trust said:

“The St Monica Trust is delighted to be a part of ARCO’s Vision 2030 initiative, which will play a vital role in bringing about meaningful change within the UK care sector and reach a level where we’re delivering exactly what older people want us to deliver.”


Jamie Bunce, Chief Executive Officer of Inspired Villages said:

“Later living communities will play an important role in tackling the under-supply of age-specific housing and will help to address spiralling health and social care spending, resulting from a lack of appropriate later living accommodation.  ARCO’s parliamentary event provided an opportunity to stand alongside our peers, seeking support from Government and  recognition for the vital role this sector will play for our ageing population.” 


Jeremy Walford, Managing Director at Middleton Hall said:

“It was great to find Parliamentary interest in Middleton Hall’s plans for Employee Ownership as an alternative model for social care.  Vision 2030 is all about increasing the choice of retirement communities and business models where older people can enjoy life with a supportive community around them.”


Prof. Praminda Caleb-Solly, from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at UWE, who are working with ARCO and its members to improve quality of life in later life through new technology said:

“It was great to be able to share and discuss the scope of assistive robotics in supporting independent living as part of a blended care model, with so many key influencers. People had an opportunity of seeing for themselves how an engaging socially assistive robot like Pepper might be used to augment human support in different ways. For example, encouraging people to keep up with activities recommended by their therapists to improve their health and well-being on a more regular and frequent basis.”




For Further Information Please Contact

Gareth Lyon, Head of Policy and Communications, at or on 075350 88498


Notes to editors

  1. About ARCO: ARCO (the Associated Retirement Community Operators) is the trade association for operators of housing-with-care developments for older people. ARCO was founded in 2012, and is now comprised of 27 private and not-for-profit operators of Retirement Communities. ARCO represents approximately 50% of the Retirement Community sector. ARCO sets high standards, and all ARCO members must adhere to the externally assessed ARCO Consumer Code. ARCO does not represent the traditional retirement housing model where there are limited services and no care is available or care homes.
  2. About Retirement Communities: Retirement Communities typically consist 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. They sit in between traditional retirement houses (which have less extensive staffing and leisure facilities), and care homes, and can be in urban or suburban locations.
  3. About Vision 2030: Vision 2030 is ARCO’s vision for 250,000 people to be living in retirement communities by 2030. The vision sets out ten areas of work for the sector in order to achieve this. These are:
  • Development of a clear customer proposition
  • Effective self-regulation
  • Enhanced health and wellbeing
  • Intelligent use of technology
  • Flexible models of tenure
  • Sustainable funding streams
  • Sector-specific legislation
  • Comprehensive and robust data
  • Clarity in the planning system
  • A highly trained workforce

For more information on Vision 2030, please contact Gareth Lyon, Head of Policy and Communications, at

  1. Benefits of Retirement Communities:
  • Meeting the needs of an ageing population: Older people need and want choice in their housing for later life. However, at present housing options for older people are limited. Retirement Communities are an important element of housing choice for older people. Developing the capacity of the Retirement Community sector is vital to ensuring that the UK’s housing market is fit to meet the needs of an ageing population.
  • Promoting independence, security and wellbeing: Older people living in Retirement Communities are likely to experience lower levels of loneliness and social isolation. A 2014 study by the International Longevity Centre found that 82% of respondents in Retirement Communities said they hardly or never felt isolated, and only 1% often felt isolated.
  • Reducing costs and encouraging more efficient use of resources: Residents in Retirement Communities are able to receive specialist care in their homes if needed, enabling them to return home from hospital earlier. They are also less likely to enter hospital. For example, one way in which Retirement Communities improve health is by preventing falls. Retirement Community properties are designed and built with adaptations to support independence and research shows that those living in these specialist homes are between 1.5 and 2.8 times less likely to have a fall than those living in homes without adaptations. This helps to reduce pressure on NHS services. A recent study found that NHS costs were reduced by 38% for those moving into Retirement Community housing and NHS costs for ‘frail’ residents had reduced by 51.5% after 12 months.
  • Responding to the housing shortage: Older people moving to a Retirement Community will typically ‘downsize’, freeing up much needed and under-occupied family sized homes. If all those interested in moving into a retirement property were able to do so, research suggests that approximately 3.29 million properties would be released, including nearly 2 million three-bedroom homes.