Property Showplace chats with Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Group, the retirement living provider.
What’s your background and how did you get into the industry?
My father worked in house building so I got an early taste of the sector. I actually founded Beaumont, a care home provider in my early 20s with my business partner Dr. Andrew MacDonald. But it quickly became clear to me that we needed far better, and more innovative, retirement living options in the UK.
Tell us about how Audley Group came about and what it was in response to.
Audley Group was formed in 1991, building on the initial success of Beaumont. The company was founded on a desire to help the UK population live better, for longer: giving people the chance to live in their own homes, with health and wellness facilities on site. I felt that there was an opportunity to offer an alternative to conventional care, and established Audley Group to develop a unique offering in the UK; the first luxury retirement villages.
How has the company evolved since then?
Since its inception, Audley Group has continued to thrive. We now own and operate 21 villages in total across the UK. Audley villages are at the luxury end of the market, while in 2016 we identified a gap to create a new proposition and offer the same aspirational retirement living options to a broader audience. Mayfield Villages opened the doors to its first village, Mayfield Watford, earlier this year.
Our sustained growth has also allowed us to enter into significant joint ventures (JVs), with significant institutional investors including Octopus Real Estate, Schroeders and BlackRock Real Assets to accelerate growth. We have also just announced a joint venture with Senior Living Investment Partners (SLIP), which will enable the development of 600 units across four new villages: including our next Mayfield village in Brent Cross Town.
What does Audley offer property owners?
Audley offers owners an aspirational living lifestyle within an integrated community. Villages incorporate facilities such as restaurants, spas and health clubs including, swimming pools and gyms.
With a focus on the community, each village also has an owners’ lounge and library, as well as offering activities such as yoga, pilates, personal training sessions, aqua aerobics, bridge, book clubs and sight-seeing trips.
Audley also offers health and wellness options to owners should they require it. These range from nutritional advice to personal training, through to support with shopping and care services if needed.
What are the benefits of living in a retirement village compared to other later living options?
Living in an integrated retirement community like ours allows property owners to retain independence, whilst also having access to fantastic central facilities and health and wellness support. Having many amenities in one place offers ultimate convenience for owners and allows them to live a relaxed lifestyle
Each property is sold as the owner’s asset, meaning they’re free to sell at any stage, on the open market. This means owners are able to enjoy the benefits of a continued investment in a property of their own.
The health and wellness options include access to our dedicated CQC registered care team, who can support with anything from support with shopping and tasks around the house, right through to full care support.
What’s next on the horizon for Audley Group?
It’s a pivotal time for Audley as we continue to find new sites for villages across both Audley and Mayfield brands. Having recently opened the new Audley Fairmile village, multiple other new developments are currently in the works.
Building on the success of the first Mayfield Village in Watford, Audley Group also has plans to develop the second Mayfield Village in Brent Cross, as part of the Brent Cross Town masterplan. This village will offer 147 new units, as well as amenities, as part of an exclusive integrated retirement community.
The UK still has significantly more demand than supply of integrated retirement communities. Our mission is to build these much-needed units and give the UK population the living options they deserve as they get older.
Thank you for your time Nick and good luck with your future plans.
For more information visit www.audleyvillages.co.uk