40,000 people voicing their opinion on the quality of elderly accommodation

Over the past seven years Legal & General and the Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) have worked together to give older people in retirement accommodation a voice to assess the quality of their housing.

This year, at the Housing Awards for Older People in Birmingham, we celebrated the 40,000th resident voicing their opinion. Chris Knight, Managing Director for Legal & General Individual Retirement joined 450 residents, John Galvin CEO of EAC, Comedian Earl Okin, the BBC’s Bargain Hunt former presenter Tim Wonnacott, with the veteran Jon Hammond compering an amazing celebration of later life.

Award cermony

John Galvin, CEO of EAC, explains why an independent voice is important

“2017 is a particularly exciting year for the Awards. Over 10,000 people from 1,200 schemes, courts and estates made nominations, and explained what they value about the place where they live, work or visit. Residents convey lucidly and often touchingly how living in a sheltered, retirement, extra care or assisted living scheme has improved their quality of life – often to a degree that has taken them by surprise.

It was always the purpose of the EAC Awards to showcase, celebrate and build awareness of the

wide range of later life housing that we still have in this country. Until recently it seemed we were finally reaching a consensus amongst housing providers, policy makers and even funders that choices in elderly housing makes sense and that we not only need to build more but we also need to look after what we already have.

To understand what has changed, let’s reflect that all the models of retirement housing celebrated in the Awards work because they comprise good quality ‘age proofed’ homes, in friendly and supportive communities, and with discrete support or care services available when needed.”

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Uncertainty about funding

John Galvin adds: “Suddenly these integral support services are threatened by uncertainty about how much public funding for them will be available in future. Already some providers are withdrawing services from existing schemes, whilst new schemes are delayed or even abandoned.

So there is a particular urgency about telling the story of later life housing at the present moment.

And that’s why having 10,000 ‘users’ fired up and eager to participate in the ‘National Housing for

Older People Awards 2017 is such an important and timely achievement. They send a powerful message, and we hope that as providers and residents, you will make use of the story and images of the Awards as part of your own campaigns to explain and promote later life housing in the areas where you work, and to the decision-makers you have contact with.

There is another important good news story woven into this year’s Awards, which is about the evolution of standards in the retirement housing sector. The Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM) launched its new Code of Practice last year. We are delighted also to have

ARCO, Housing LIN, EROSH and CHS involved, as each of these is also focused on setting standards or helping landlords and managers to meet them.

In conclusion, my thanks to all the residents, staff, families, visitors and volunteers who made this year’s celebration possible by sharing their experiences with us – and to Legal & General and all our sponsors who enabled us to celebrate in style.”

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Chris Knight, MD of Legal & General Individual Retirement explained our involvement

We love the EAC Housing Awards because of their amazing energy, enthusiasm for life and the mix of people from across the UK. They are also unique. Unique because they enable thousands of residents to tell us what they value about their retirement housing – and we’re here today to celebrate the best of the best retirement developments in the UK. We congratulate you all in telling your landlords, your scheme managers and the employees supporting you how good they really are.

In our view as a major provider of lifetime mortgages and investors in the retirement housing sector, in the UK we suffer from a chronic under supply of age-specific housing. We still collectively have more to do and this includes helping the different generations find solutions that work together.

Legal & General is committed to help your generation and future generations live longer and more fulfilling lives. We will do this by expanding the supply and diversity of the housing options available for older people ensuring more people like you can enjoy independence, dignity and a high quality of life throughout life.

Congratulations once again to John Galvin and team for continuing to campaign on all of our behalves to make life better."