From the enthusiasm of residents to socialise to the community-run groups set up with specialist interest focuses, Australian retirement villages could learn a thing or two from its counterparts in the UK.

Retirement villages around the UK have seen clubs flourish and residents expand their social activity, all thanks to initiatives started right in their own communities.

Residents at a village called Tregolls Lodge, run by village operator Churchill Retirement Living, decided to begin their own gardening club, which has proven to be a great way to bring residents together and share the responsibility for tending to a communal green area.

In doing so, the Tregolls Lodge community have done such an outstanding job in maintaining their communal garden, that provider Churchill supplied a shed and tools for them.

“Tregolls Lodge has lovely gardens which are managed by a professional gardener, but some of

us, along with Cheryl the lodge manager, decided we’d get together to pretty it up a bit,” says

Deirdre Neale, who lives there.

While gardening is one of many popular social activities, the consensus is that even if residents aren’t inclined to join a social club, the vast majority of the retirement village community will be supportive of your interests, as former nurse Barbara Hallows found when she moved into

Churchill Retirement Living’s Chelmer Lodge development in Chelmsford, Essex.

Fellow residents at Chelmer Lodge supported Barbara’s fundraising work for The Nursing Memorial Appeal, for which she has raised more than £50,000 to honour nurses and Voluntary Aid Detachment members – known as VADs – killed during both world Wars. She is chairman of The Nursing Memorial Appeal, set up in 2012 to raise funds for a memorial to honour nurses and VADs at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Barbara, 85, moved into her apartment at Churchill’s Chelmer Lodge after deciding to downsize from her home a few kilometres away, and says: “Many of the owners at Chelmer Lodge have been very supportive of the appeal.”

With such morale being rallied in these close-knit retirement villages, it won’t be long until the existing spirit of Australian retirement villages follows closely along.

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