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Sell-out Success for Inaugural ARCO Conference


A packed room for the ARCO conference

On 6 July 2016 ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) was pleased to hold their inaugural conference – ‘What Next? Shaping the Future of Retirement Communities in the UK’ – at the Congress Centre in central London. It was a sell-out event, with close to 300 delegates and exhibitors registered to attend the main conference day, and 77 for the additional Knowledge Exchange Day of workshops and tours which took place on 7 July. Delegates included senior executives from both extra care housing and private retirement village operators, public sector stakeholders, and suppliers and investors with an interest in this growing sector. The conference was sponsored by Nicol Thomas, Castleoak, JLL, ENS, and Trowers & Hamlins.

Following a welcome from Baroness Sally Greengross, ARCO’s newly announced patron, the conference began with an inspirational keynote speech from Professor Alexandre Kalache. Kalache is former head of the WHO Global Programme on Ageing and current co-president of the International Longevity Centre Global-Alliance. His engaging and touching speech encouraged delegates to view both the broad structural context of the ‘longevity revolution’, and older people’s individual and varied stories and needs.

The morning went on to feature a panel session on dementia, and an insightful presentation from CQC and ensuing discussion about the future regulatory landscape for housing-with-care. During this the audience voted for their preferred regulatory framework for the sector, with 56 per cent in favour of the creation of a new special regulated category for ‘housing with care’. This indicative snapshot provides food for thought for future regulation, although a decision on this from CQC and the government is likely to be several years away.

The morning concluded with the second keynote presentation of the day, from Dr Margaret Wylde. A self-proclaimed “data dog”, Dr Wylde emphasised the value of market data to sector growth, painted a vivid picture of the very different large-scale ‘senior living’ market in the US, and challenged delegates to question assumptions about what older people really want when it comes to senior living.


CQC Voting Poll Results PNG

Results from the regulation discussion audience vote


Delegates enjoying the day at ARCO’s conference

Following a delicious lunch, and a moving presentation from James Greenshields from Tonic Housing, the afternoon sessions honed in on the funding context and business cases, starting with a series of presentations from Law Commissioner Stephen Lewis, Jeremy Porteus from Housing LIN, and Anthony Oldfield and Phil Schmid from JLL.


After the presentation of detailed case studies from Bruce Moore from Housing & Care 21, Mark Curran from ExtraCare Charitable Trust, and Paul Morgan from Audley, and a final panel debate reflecting on the day, the conference concluded with the ARCO Drinks Reception. This was sponsored by Nicol Thomas, and saw over 150 delegates enjoying themselves and networking well into the evening.

The Knowledge Exchange Day on Thursday continued on a high from the main conference, with delegates enjoying engaging workshops and exclusive tours to some of the most innovative retirement communities in and around London.

Click here to view our Storify story of key tweets from the day.

Click here to find out more about ARCO membership.

Presentations were emailed to all delegates. Please email [email protected] for more information about the 2016 conference, or information about next year’s event.



Conference photo highlights