An inspiring introduction

The first in a series of articles introducing Inspired Villages, market leaders in the care village sector.

Nicholas John talks to Chairman, Keith Cockell.

Keith, why are you looking to publish this series of interviews?

After many years spent developing retirement villages and working to get across the essential message that living in a safe and secure environment with all the care needed as one got older, provided a better solution to old age, I had hoped that by now most people had “got it!” The benefits are easily understood: you retain your own home, your children and grandchildren will be able to visit easily and you may never need to go into a care home.

Often when showing prospective residents around our villages, I explain why, for example, we lower the worktops and wall cupboards in the kitchen, why we fit a standard toilet 70mm higher and I try to explain the reasons for the layout of the village itself. The response is always the same, “you’ve put a lot of thought into this, haven’t you?”

I said to myself that people have now “got it” and they do understand the big idea; they want to know more and we should go into the detail. We should explain what we have learned, explain why we design our villages the way we do and how we run them. Put across the thought, the care and the consideration that goes into the way we can make a difference to people’s lives.

And what are you hoping to get across to our readers?

Over the next few months, I want to set out all the experiences, all the reasons and all the facts that your readers will want to know. I want to explain why one of our villages will look the way it does. I want the readers to understand how we can make life safe and deliver care without it being institutional; in essence, how we can look after people without them knowing it.

Different members of the senior management team will each write an article that will build into a complete understanding of our customers’ needs and show how we make the villages they will live in safer and more secure, providing resources that will deliver the services and care as residents grow older.

Each article will describe in detail one particular aspect of our villages: everything from village design to the fact that we create bigger living spaces that upsize your home rather than downsize, right down to the minute details involved in exemplary care. Do you know we actually encourage our gardeners to stop work and spend time explaining what they’re doing… or perhaps just listening to an expert themselves?

Are you concerned about your market competitors and whether they might pick up on everything you’re saying?

To be honest, I hope they do! One of our future articles will explain why we’re here and why we do what we do. This will explore the demographics that will affect Inspired Village and the country in the next thirty years. I’m lucky enough to live in the Cotswolds: recently we obtained permission to build one of our villages at Stow-on-the-Wold, so certain numbers have stayed in my mind. In Gloucestershire in 2010, there were around 54,000 people aged over 75; by 2030 this will increase to 94,000.

In the five-year period, it has taken to obtain planning consent and begin construction, there will be another 10,000 people aged 75. Our village will deliver homes for somewhere in the region of 150 older people.

We need lots of more villages and assisted living options. That’s a slightly long-winded answer but if competitors read these articles and make a better life for someone, somewhere, I will feel proud to have influenced them.

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