Inspired Villages Group (“Inspired Villages”), the Legal & General-backed later living business, announces that Sharon Badelek has joined the business as its Chief Financial Officer, in a newly created position that reflects its next major stage of growth and evolution.
Sharon brings over 20 years’ experience growing customer-centric businesses across the UK retail, leisure and healthcare sectors. Her previous roles include CFO and CEO of Novus Leisure, which operates at over 40 venues across the UK, Group Finance Director at Vue Entertainment, where she was key in their expansion across the UK and Europe, as well as Group Financial Controller of Virgin Active and CFO of Westpoint Veterinary Group.
Having demonstrated its resilience and proven business model, this strategic appointment will see Sharon join the main Board and underpins Inspired Villages’ ambitious growth plan to deliver 50 later living communities over the next 5-10 years. Also being appointed to the Inspired Villages’ Board is its Chief Operating Officer, Tom Lord, who joined the business in September 2018 from the InterContinental Group, where he was the Head of Global Operations, holding over 20 years of experience in the leisure industry. Both Board appointments demonstrate Inspired Villages’ commitment to putting its long-term relationship with residents and customer centric approach at the heart of its investment strategy, as they help drive forward the next stage of Inspired Villages growth programme, reinforcing its dedication to providing a full lifestyle services and a home that is more than just bricks and mortar.
Retirement properties make up just 2% of UK housing stock, despite over-65s already making up 18% of the population in the UK and expected to double by 2041. Inspired Villages, which was established by Legal & General in 2017, has seen phenomenal growth since foundation. In the past two years it has grown from a team of 25 to around 300 employees, with capital commitments of half a billion pounds across its later living developments. Its purpose is to build and operate retirement communities that enable their residents to live healthier, happier, safer, and more independent and active lives.
It currently operates six later living communities across the UK and is set to add to the portfolio with a further 2,500 homes over the next six years. Its seventh village, Ledian Gardens in Kent, is set to open in 2021, with construction already underway on an eighth village, Elderswell in Bedfordshire, and works due to start on a further four schemes next year.
Sharon is supported by a team of 18 finance and investment professionals, and will be working closely with Tatiana Smith as Group Finance Manager. Tatiana joined the business in March this year and has proven to be a real asset to the organisation in moving Inspired Villages forward during these challenging and pivotal times.
Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages, said: “Sharon’s appointment comes at a crucial time for the company. Her business acumen and strong customer-centric approach will be integral to our continued growth. Sharon and Tom’s board appointments will further support the company’s purpose of redefining the later living experience in this country and making a significant contribution to the overall strategic direction of Inspired Villages.”
Phil Bayliss, CEO of Later Living at Legal & General, added: “Covid has shone a light on the clear and pressing need to support our over-65s population, safeguarding them, and reliving the burden on our overwhelmed NHS and social care systems. We all want and deserve to live healthier, better and more independent lives for longer. Sharon’s appointment is a response to Inspired Villages’ fast paced growth and societal need. Alongside Tom’s, her wealth of experience from growing hospitality and leisure businesses will prove extremely valuable to the company’s strategic direction.”
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