The French Hospital Almshouses


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300th Anniversary Housing Conference

This year, we wanted not only to celebrate our 300th Anniversary as an almshouse charity, but also to use this milestone to involve ourselves in a much wider debate about the housing and social care challenges that our country is facing. We welcomed 87 delegates to the Wellcome Collection in London on 21 March to hear more about housing options across the spectrum for the ageing population.

The ageing population currently struggles to find housing and social care options to best fit their needs and this will only worsen as the ageing population grows. The Office of National Statistics estimates that by 2040, nearly one in four people in the UK (24.2%) will be aged 65 or over. Current UK estimates for life expectancy at birth are 82.8 years for females and 79.1 years for males. We felt that it was important for our delegates to see the whole picture so that they could better understand what they can do to help – we all have a part to play.

Speakers from organisations both large and small working to improve housing and care options for the ageing population participated in the event. Lord Best OBE DL, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing & Social Care for Older People delivered our keynote address. Our programme also included:

  • Alex Fox OBE, Homeshare UK
  • Peter Dowds, Elder
  • Matt Mills, SweetTree Home Care Services
  • Grahame Hindes, Octavia Housing Association
  • Julian Marczak, Almshouse Association
  • Maria Brenton, UK Co-Housing Network & Older Women’s Co-housing Community
  • Stephen Burke, United for All Ages
  • Martin Shreeve, The ExtraCare Charitable Trust
  • Nick Sanderson, Audley Retirement Villages
  • Christine Valentine-Bunce, Chelsea Court Place
  • Jonathan Ellis, Hospice UK
  • Jeremy Porteus, Housing LIN

The conference helped delegates identify areas in which they could learn from or work together with other organisations. The conference taught us that no single organisation has the complete solution, but by starting a dialogue, and working together, we can improve housing and social care options for the ageing.

Ella Jessel, a reporter from The Architects’ Journal, joined us at the conference and published a piece following the event. You can read the full article here. Our photographer captured scenes throughout the day and you can see the photos from the conference here.

Pete Dowds, Elder