Planning for Abbeyfield’s future

Please note, this statement relates to the largest Member Society of Abbeyfield, trading as Abbeyfield Living Society. The consultation does not affect any of Abbeyfield’s independent Member Societies across the UK and internationally.

Whilst our mission and vision have not changed, Abbeyfield’s place in society, the role our communities need us to play, and the government regulations that bind us have all changed over the past 60 years. In response, Abbeyfield has had to change too, including considering how best we achieve our mission.

Recent years have been tough for everyone and we have had to overcome very significant challenges including the impact of the Covid pandemic, a huge increase in energy prices, rising inflation and escalating operating costs. Staffing our homes has also become very challenging, with the broader social care sector suffering from a well-reported workforce shortage that is impacting all our services.

Whilst we have navigated through this period of hardship, which has placed great financial strain on the organisation, we must now consider how we rebuild, refocus and redouble our efforts to achieve our founding mission.

Abbeyfield already conducts periodic reviews of all our homes to make sure they remain suitable for residents.

In response to the past few difficult years, we decided to conduct a new review of every home as part of making a clear plan for the future of the organisation. These reviews considered how each home can keep pace with the changing needs, tastes and expectations of older people and provide the services and facilities that they want and indeed expect from a housing and care provider.

Having fully considered the findings of this review, it is with regret that we identified some homes which we feel can no longer be operated sustainably. This is because they either no longer meet the needs of older people, are unlikely or unable to meet future regulatory requirements, or where the costs of upgrading the home to meet modern expectations and standards would be too great, even if spread over 30 years. Abbeyfield does not currently have any outstanding debt so any investment we make in our properties must be recoupable through our day to day operations, thereby ensuring our future financial sustainability. As part of the review we also looked at how each home can meet the government’s forthcoming requirements on housing quality and environmental sustainability, and what significant renovation and upgrade work may be required to meet these new standards.

Having considered the options available to us, in May 2023 we regrettably made the difficult decision to begin consultations on the future of 43 Abbeyfield properties, which includes three care homes and 40 sheltered houses. 

Since the consultations launched, we have listened carefully to representations made by affected residents, relatives and staff, and spoken to a wide variety of stakeholders about the different options available for each home. We have been proactive in our approach, contacting local authority commissioning teams and other housing associations and care providers, both locally and nationally, as well as other charities and potential partners. We have also written to all local MPs, county and town councillors and other government ministers within the sector.

This process is not one we’ve embarked upon lightly; part of being a responsible organisation is recognising when you need to make a difficult decision and this is one of those times. Addressing the financial challenges and long-term sustainability of these properties is paramount to securing the future of Abbeyfield and ensuring that the homes we continue to run provide residents with the highest standards of housing and care both now and into the future.

I am aware there has been some misinformation circulating that Abbeyfield is in considerable debt and would like to take the opportunity to clarify that despite currently facing financial challenges, Abbeyfield is not in any debt.

While decisions have now been made for the future of many of these homes, the consultations are still ongoing at a number of properties, with remaining decisions due by the end of November.

We know any decision to close homes is extremely disappointing and unwelcome news for many people, not least those currently living and working there, and we are providing ongoing communication and support to both residents and staff throughout the process.

If you have any further questions, please get in touch at

Paul Tennant, CEO