“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – a quote by Abraham Lincoln; one of the inspirational quotes that influenced my personal ambition to provide better choices for older people in the UK. LIFEstyle by ENGIE was launched in 2018 and, with Abraham Lincoln’s quote in mind, has resulted in raising our ambition to give customers more control over their environment and own futures in later life.
I am a fervent believer in, ‘ To empower people, is to engage with them’. We invested heavily in research and development through two-way communication. I am aware that our best advisors and advocates are our customers. So we gave people over 55 a voice right from the initial inception of the LIFEstyle vision. Ensuring we understand what people aspire to in later life and the challenges they face is essential to creating a future which meets expectation as well as need.
It’s not been an easy ride of late! Spring of 2020 brought unprecedented times with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has certainly had a major impact across the world, creating fear, dismay and devastation for many and targeted the older generation. Our LIFEstyle customers have not been immune to the ravaging effects; however, the sense of community, safe environment and individualised support along with carefully designed lifelong homes offering indoor and outdoor independent space have assisted people to remain safe and independent. I am therefore very proud of our business model. As a result, LIFEstyle is weathering the pandemic a storm I didn’t predict, but a model which has evidenced success.
Importantly, we are not sitting on our laurels as we review the lessons learnt by scientists relating the spread of the virus to identify what preventative measures we can build into our products and services in readiness for a spike or repeat of such a pandemic. Indeed, it is interesting to note that the demand for our 1st LIFEstyle development in Walton Wakefield, as featured in the Housing LIN Inspirational Achievements, has increased two-fold since the lockdown eased and customer comments give a clear indication the approach at LIFEstyle by ENGIE is the right way forward.
At ENGIE we are also committed to developing solutions to delivering zero carbon communities. Climate change is the pandemic we will not be able to develop a vaccine for, but it is the pandemic we can slow down and prevent. The implications of doing nothing are far reaching and the devastation will not discriminate, so my ambition is to build on the success of LIFEstyle, to create community based zero carbon solutions which decarbonise the environment and decentralise services, because the impact of doing something will be massive to all future generations and empower us all to create our own future.
"A home is not simply about an energy efficient building in the right location, it’s the support network of friends, family and interaction within the community that all contribute towards creating the perfect lifelong home"And, as a senior leader within ENGIE, I make no apologies for being ambitious in my drive to deliver a business model that will change the horizon for future generations of older people in the UK. I aim to drive a way forward for a healthy future, for an environment which delivers to aspirations in later life and a vision to support people to age well and live well connecting communities, health, housing and social care across all tenure groups. I am proud to work for a business with a clear mission to place the planet and its population at the heart of its thinking when it comes to creating place, shaping and delivering infrastructure and services to meet the need for a sustainable future. And I remain determined to give the older generation a voice through education and engagement with younger creators to ensure they are rightfully empowered to be party to creating their own futures.
LIFEstyle by ENGIE is not simply about building suitable, lifelong homes to address short term aspirational needs of people over 55, or just about providing a lovely home in a great location – even though we know both these are important, especially in today’s housing crisis. Indeed, ENGIE made a commitment to customers to provide long term sustainability and enable customers to influence, shape and control their own future, a future focused on remaining independent and well for longer. LIFEstyle by ENGIE, allows people to future proof their lives and not just their home, targeting people in their mid-50s promoting better long-term outcomes in later life. A home is not simply about an energy efficient building in the right location, it’s the support network of friends, family and interaction within the community that all contribute towards creating the perfect lifelong home.
Lastly, at ENGIE, we appreciate this and are committed to creating communities which focus on essential infrastructure like; location accessible to essential services, efficient green energy infrastructure, digital network and community facilities enabling people to engage with others in meaningful activities, bringing all generations closer together. The community hub is a key feature of all our LIFEstyle developments, along with cost effective pay as you go services and property adaptations when people need them, ensuring affordability of services and facilities which support wellbeing available on the doorstep. We are working on innovations that will compliment LIFEstyle by ENGIE and further empower our residents. In particular, later this year, we hope to launch an Electric Car share, ENGIE Digital Assistant and Modular Lifelong homes, energising our residents to live smarter and healthier lives.