Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Louie French has visited Birchgrove’s Sidcup community in a show of support for the UK’s burgeoning assisted living rental sector, at a time when demand from over-65s for high-quality rental homes is accelerating.
Recent research from Hamptons predicts that the number of households aged over-65 renting their home will double to more than one million in the next decade, up from 400,000 today.
Whilst the rental in retirement model is well established in the US (90% of retiree housing in the US is rented), in the UK it was largely unheard of for elderly people in the mid-market sector to rent their retirement home, until Birchgrove introduced the model to the UK in 2017.
On Friday the MP visited Birchgrove’s Queensgate Apartments in Sidcup, a collection of 74 one, two and three-bed assisted living apartments for independently minded over 65s. Opened in 2019 by the late James Brokenshire MP, Queensgate Apartments was one of the first mid-market assisted living rental communities in the UK and has served to pioneer a new model of retirement housing in the country.
During his tour of Queensgate Apartments Mr French had coffee with residents – many of whom have lived locally in Sidcup or Bexley their whole life – in the bar, before meeting residents taking part in tai chi in the landscaped garden and visiting the greenhouse to see the homegrown fruit and vegetables.
Mr French also saw some of the community’s other facilities, including the library and health and wellness suite, before resident Ken Allison and Hazel Evans showed Mr French their apartments and shared their experience of living at Birchgrove.
Regular events and hobby groups help create a community spirit at Queensgate Apartments, whilst the onsite shuttle service to the local high street and shops adds to the service offer. All residents are entitled to one hour’s domestic support per week, meaning a member of staff will help with chores such as cleaning. Both group and individual activities including exercise classes and vegetable growing are also offered.
Since the opening of Queensgate Apartment Birchgrove has established two further communities in Surrey (Ewell and Woking) housing more than 170 residents. Construction of two further communities in Banstead and Leatherhead are currently underway, while residences in a sixth community in Godalming, Surrey, are now available for early-bird enquiries. A site has also been secured to establish a further community in Chiswick, West London.
Honor Barratt, Chief Executive, Birchgrove said, “It was a pleasure to welcome Louie French to Queensgate Apartments, especially at a time when demand for high-quality rental homes for over-65s is really starting to surge. Our mission is to make retirement living more accessible and flexible, and we’re proud to have our local MP onboard.”