Key to Happiness
Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages Group talks to Jan Clarke about building for the future, enjoying life and how prevention is always better than cure
Jamie Bunce’s zest for life is infectious. When we meet, he has just returned from holiday and his joy of traveling and spending time with his family is evident. His trip also gave him the opportunity to indulge in his love of cycling. A love so great, that while on holiday, he took a detour to ride a mountain section of the gruelling route of the Tour de France. I think this definitely qualifies as a “can do” attitude and it’s his ‘joie de vivre’ which is also the driving force behind the vision for the Inspired Villages Group.
Inspired Villages is an operator and developer of later living, luxury accommodation and the company are on a mission to reinvent retirement. Jamie tells me, “At Inspired, our plan is to deliver unique later living accommodation and communities, centred on the philosophy that adventures, good health and happiness does not stop in retirement.” Jamie is steadfast in his belief that the elderly should be able to enjoy their retirement to the fullest and have fun. Inspired Villages plan to be the market leader in providing the elderly with homes which will allow them to live younger for longer and enjoy a wonderful quality of life.
Jamie’s career in construction and development spans over thirty years and after meeting Keith Cockell, the now Chairman of Inspired Villages, Jamie’s path to work in the retirement and later life sector was set. In August 2017, the company formed a partnership with Legal and General which has seen the business and their plans continue to grow. Jamie says, “Our five-year expansion plans will enable employee numbers to increase significantly and our aim is to have eight thousand five hundred homes across fifty sites, looking after almost thirteen thousand residents.”
The company wants to see these ambitious plans bring about real change for the elderly and they are currently engaging with agencies on a local and national level to work towards this goal. Jamie explains, “Our vision is to make a big impact to major societal issues such as health, care and loneliness.” He and his company hope to break the cycle which sees the elderly becoming trapped in unsuitable housing and the impact this has on them, their families, the NHS and society as a whole. Currently little attention is being paid to the ‘last time buyers’ and there are limited options available to people wanting to downsize. By offering a good product with great facilities and trained staff, people no longer need to stay in accommodation which has become outdated for their needs and this will impact on the housing market as a whole.
As our conversation continues, I’m inspired by his passion to offer the elderly an opportunity to live a life less ordinary in an environment centred around health and happiness. Inspired villages and their community environment want not only to eradicate loneliness in the elderly, but help prevent extended stays in hospital, anxiety and depression. They actively encourage wellbeing through social activities and their wellness centres together with a flexible care environment tailored to each individual. This enables residents and their families to spend time together and enjoy life to the fullest. Their villages have a luxury resort feel and represent a fantastic, modern lifestyle. Their Gifford Lea development in Cheshire has been very well received by buyers and the wider community and comes with its very own wellness spa, restaurant, village concierge and beauty salon.