Retirement housing welcomes Care Minister’s support for their staff’s role during Covid 19 crisis

6 May, 2020

Retirement housing welcomes Care Minister’s support for their staff’s role during Covid 19 crisis

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) and its members who develop retirement housing have joined others providing and managing housing for older people in strongly welcoming a letter of support from Care Minister, Helen Whately MP, for the role their staff are playing in helping and supporting residents in their developments during the Covid 19 crisis.

In her letter, the Minister says:

“Retirement and Extra Care communities across the country - whatever their size, or whether private or not-for-profit – are playing a vital role in protecting the most vulnerable in our country.”

Retirement housing developments provide independent living for their residents along with a range of day-to-day personal care and support services. They have proved to be a good place to support older people during this challenging time, with a very limited number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date within developments.

The Minister adds:

“To ensure that all the people in your care remain safe, healthy, and comforted as our normal ways of life have been put on hold is a phenomenal achievement. It will be a joy to those in your care and to their families too.”

John Slaughter, chair of the HBF’s Retirement Home Builders Group, commenting on behalf of HBF’s retirement development members, said:

“This is a much appreciated recognition of the important part that the managers and all other staff involved in running retirement housing developments, including developments providing extra care services, are playing in enabling potentially vulnerable older people to manage the challenges posed by the Covid 19 pandemic.”

For the Retirement Housing Group, RHG Chairman Richard Morton said:

“The diverse range of those providing and operating housing for older people are united by their commitment to supporting the residents they help look after to cope with the pandemic and the Minister’s letter is a real boost to their efforts.”

Cecilia Brodigan for the Association of Retirement Housing Managers said:

“Retirement housing managers have played a key role in reassuring and supporting their resident communities in the current challenging times and the Minister’s message of thanks for their personal commitment will mean a lot to them.”

Examples of the support being provided by retirement developers include:

  • McCarthy & Stone has 1,600 people in its Services team who are focused on delivering care and support to its 20,000 residents. To provide additional support during this challenging time, the company has also set up a dedicated Buddy scheme across all of its retirement communities. These Buddies include 500 of McCarthy & Stone’s staff, mainly from its construction teams. They have signed up to provide a point of contact and help ensure vulnerable customers have the supplies and any other support they need. It’s an important additional safety net.
  • Churchill Retirement Living has teamed up with a national wholesaler to set up a new delivery service to its network of developments across the country, helping to ensure all its self-isolating apartment owners have access to the essentials.
  • Realising the potential challenges of loneliness and social isolation that can be experienced by us all at this challenging time, Lifestory Group (including PegasusLife and Renaissance Retirement) established the Stronger Together campaign building intergenerational relationships within local communities through pen-pal style letters, drawings and sharing videos. These friendships will stretch beyond the current situation and help to bridge the gap between old and young.

Research recently published by Homes For Later Living shows that people living in specialist retirement housing typically experience reduced health risks, contributing to fiscal savings to the NHS and social care services of c. £3,500 per person per year. The average 80 year old also enjoys significantly increased happiness and life satisfaction, based on established national well-being criteria.

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For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on or 07919 307760.  

Notes to editors

  1. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies:
  2. The HBF’s Retirement Home Builders Group is its national forum for its members who build and run specialist retirement housing developments and works to promote the case and policy environment needed for an increased supply of such housing.
  3. The Retirement Housing Group (RHG) is a membership organisation working in the property industry. Its aim is to increase housing choices for older people by advancing and promoting the case for sustainable retirement housing. Its members develop, own and manage specialist retirement housing. It has been an independent industry body since 2011. The RHG works both nationally and locally on raising the profile of retirement housing and tackling barriers to increase the supply, range and quality of accommodation for older people, including influencing planning, housing, legal and housing management policy by bringing issues and solutions to opinion-formers.
  4. The Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM) is an organisation committed to improving the lives of older people. It achieves this by raising standards in Retirement Housing.  Through its 2016 Government-backed Code of Practice, it ensures leaseholders, their families, scheme and site managers and people working in the sector know what Retirement Housing providers legally must do and what they should do.  ARHM’s mission is to continually raise standards in older people’s accommodation, by promoting best practice and ethical management amongst those responsible for Retirement Housing.  By setting standards for membership of the association and providing training and education to members, it improves the quality and professionalism of the leasehold retirement sector. 

Retirement and Supported Housing Letter from the Minister of State for Care.pdf

PDF - 89.7 KB


Steve Turner circle
Director of Communications

Steve Turner is HBF’s Director of Communications. Steve qualified as a Civil Engineer before moving into journalism and then communications. After six years as Head of Communications for some of Network Rail’s major projects Steve moved into the housing sector and joined HBF in 2008. His remit covers HBF’s media relations, marketing and general communications activity plus membership liaison. Steve is also leading on HBF’s focus on customer service and build quality.