US retirement village inspires plans for UK

Retirement villages are to get a makeover to make them as appealing in the UK as they are in the US.

Newly appointed agency Good Relations will attempt to end the stigma attached to retirement villages in the UK.

Work­ing on behalf of retirement village developer and operator Audley, the firm aims to position retirement villages as a viable option, as a quarter of the population approaches retirement age.

More than a million people in the US currently live in retirement villages. Good Relations senior consultant Malcolm Munro said: ‘They like the way the villages offer a high quality of life and security.'

He added: ‘There's a cultural barrier to retirement homes in the UK that doesn't exist in the US. There's the "Englishman's home is his castle" attitude to overcome as well as a generic message to get across that this is a sensible thing to do.'

Good Relations will also position retirement villages as a solution to Britain's housing problem.

Munro said: ‘Sixty per cent of four bedroom houses for the most part only use one bedroom. With people living longer and more healthily the housing issue is only going to get worse.'

Good Relations will at­­t­­empt to get coverage in property and mainstream press, tapping into the debate around future house­building in the UK.

Audley's villages have ‘premium apartments' set in grounds with bars, restaurants, swimming pools and leisure facilities.

Munro heads the account, won after a competitive pitch, and reports to Raven Audley Court chief executive Nick Sanderson. Raven Audley Court owns the Audley brand. ‘I do believe we are on the crest of a breaking wave,' said Sanderson.

The Government has expressed support for the retirement village concept, providing a £40m Extra Care Housing Fund, which has so far backed 14 projects.

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