Sutton Housing Society: building quality homes for over 55s

Posted in

“Residents are absolutely delighted with their new home. Their families walk in now and go, ‘Wow, this is beautiful; I'd love to live here.’” Read how Sutton Housing Society is improving housing for older people.

Social Problem

Many older people live alone in unsuitable homes. They often suffer from loneliness and struggle to afford their bills. Sadly, there’s a real shortage of quality, affordable accommodation for people over 55. According to the International Longevity Centre (ILC), 50,000 new homes for older people need to be built each year to tackle the UK’s housing and social care crisis.[1]


Sutton Housing Society offers a range of homes for people over 55, most of which are offered at social rent – around half the cost of private rent. The new homes are designed for independent living and digital warden call systems. Residents also benefit from opportunities to socialise. Last year, the housing association with just 502 homes organised nearly 300 activities, including day trips, quizzes, craft and chair-based exercise classes – so it came as no surprise when they were shortlisted for ‘best older people’s landlord’ in the Affordable Housing 2023 Awards.


Sutton Housing Society borrowed £4 million from Charity Bank in 2015, towards the cost of a new housing development – Peppermint Court. It’s since extended the loan to £5 million. The extra money is being used to build new homes and renovate existing ones. Chief Executive Robin Roberts explains, “A lot of the homes we are building are infills, extensions or by adding a new floor (airspace) to our existing sites. We are on site at the moment creating five new homes by adding a new top floor. At the same time, we’ve refurbished the whole block, including creating a new shared lounge, putting in new windows, replacing the cladding, landscaping the grounds, making the flats more energy efficient, and so on.” Sutton Housing Society is one of London’s largest airspace developers and will be starting three new developments over the next few years.

“It’s not about numbers on a spreadsheet; it's about genuinely changing people's lives. And that's why it's so great to work with Charity Bank, because they believe that too. We believe the Charity Bank is different to other banks - it doesn’t feel like they’re the lender and we’re the borrower; we’re a team.”

Robin Roberts, Chief Executive of Sutton Housing Society


One of Sutton Housing Society’s recent airspace and wider scheme improvements has recently been shortlisted for a national housing award. Robin shares, “36% of our customers gave us an unprompted compliment last year. Residents are absolutely delighted with their new home. Their families walk in now and go, ‘Wow, this is beautiful; I'd love to live here.’ Homes for older people should be fresh, contemporary and fit for our changing older demographic - these days, older people are often still fit and active – they are keeping fit, cycling and going to rock concerts, and they want accommodation that’s fit for purpose.”

“My parents had been on the waiting list for a flat for over a year. Then Peppermint Court came up. My parents fell in love with it. The flat is beautiful and bright, lovely big rooms, huge windows and a great balcony. My parents attend all of your events in the communal lounge and have made friends with some of the other residents, so are now social butterflies.”

The son of two Peppermint Court residents

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,200 loans totalling over £450m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.