Call us now on

0800 201 4811

We Make A Difference To People's Lives

Clive Fenton

Clive Fenton

Author

Lifestyle

Chief executive Clive Fenton speaks about his pride in McCarthy & Stone’s philosophy

Ask McCarthy & Stone chief executive Clive Fenton why he joined the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder and he will say it was because of the “business opportunity” and “the chance to make a difference to people”. 

But a third reason, that is more personal and emotive, lies behind his focused and experienced manner – the memory of the last few years of his parents’ lives before he joined the company. 

“My parents stayed in the family home much longer than they should have done,” Fenton says. “My father died at 90 and my mother had got to the point where she could no longer live independently, so we felt we had to move her into a nursing home because we weren’t aware of alternatives.

“If she had moved earlier into something like the accommodation McCarthy & Stone offers then I know she would have been able to live out her life within the sort of environment we provide.”

Fenton is well aware of the impact that retirement living can have on people’s lives. “If I want to cheer myself up I just go to one of our developments and talk to our customers,” he says.

“Almost unanimously they will tell you how much of a difference it has made to their lives and that they wish they had made the move sooner. You feel you are transforming people’s lives at a time when things are becoming more di cult for them. It makes you feel good about what you do.”

Fenton is also prepared to put his money – and his family – where his business is. He has just helped his 95-year-old godfather to move into a McCarthy & Stone Assisted Living apartment.

A sense of pride for what McCarthy & Stone has achieved, and the direction it is taking, radiates from Fenton as he discusses the company he joined two years ago after nearly 30 years with a rival housebuilder.

The relationship McCarthy& Stone has developed with its customers is a particular source of this pride. A change in the way the company operates, which makes it unique in the sector, is that it now not only builds apartments but also manages them beyond the point of sale.

Fenton highlights the confidence this gives McCarthy & Stone customers, who know that their relationship with the housebuilder extends throughout their time in the development.

McCarthy & Stone has developments from Aberdeen to St Ives and now has approximately a 70 per cent share of the market, but it is the consistent  ve-star customer satisfaction rating from the Home Builders Federation that stands out. An open-door policy that invites customers to give feedback on any aspect of the service is at the heart of this, and the company organises regular surveys and focus groups.

As a result of all that feedback, the company is increasing the amount of space in apartments. This includes adding walk-in wardrobes and using under floor heating to free walls from the clutter of radiators. Parking provision has been increased and Wi-Fi offered in shared spaces.

Windows over sinks are usual in a kitchen but reaching them can be tricky. McCarthy & Stone now installs electric windows that can be operated at the touch of a button in some apartments.

When Fenton took the top job two years ago the company was building 1,500 homes per year. It is aiming to increase that to 3,000 within the next two years.
Fenton and his team have also launched a third “product” to complement Retirement Living and Assisted Living apartments. Ortus Homes are aimed at the over-55s who want to maintain a good standard of day-to-day living space but no longer want bedrooms that stand empty.

“We are always looking to meet the needs of customers,” Fenton says. “Some of that is increasing awareness. There used to be a stigma around retirement living but people now are seeing it as a positive lifestyle choice rather than a last resort.”

What homeowners value most


More than 85 per cent of McCarthy & Stone homeowners feel there is a sense of community among the people who live in their development.

According to a recent survey by the company, 77 per cent of its homeowners particularly value this companionship.

The headache of maintaining property proved the biggest factor (55 per cent) for people deciding to make the move, followed by health (39 per cent) and loss of a partner (31 per cent). Financial matters such as reducing bills or releasing equity were of lesser importance.

Location, location, location was the mantra when it came to buying, with the most important factors being local facilities nearby and being close to family. Downsizing, staying independent and the quality of the apartment were also considerations.

Support for the move from friends and family was also felt to be important. Almost 74 per cent of homeowners said their family saw this as a positive move, with fewer than three per cent reporting that their family had significant concerns.

A key part of McCarthy & Stone’s strategy now is to manage its properties itself post-sale, rather than using an external company.

This has paid significant dividends when it comes to customer satisfaction. McCarthy & Stone won its 11th five-star customer satisfaction rating in a row from the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and the National House Building Council (NHBC) in 2016, making it the only UK housebuilder of any size to win the top rating each year since the awards were established in 2005. Safety, security and the availability of help were the most valued management services.

Having a house manager on site was felt to be the service homeowners valued most, that and the availability of a 24-hour emergency call system and camera-entry to the development.
Like this article? Subscribe to receive updates...
Subscribe to receive notifications when we post new articles to our online magazine.
By subscribing to these updates you’re agreeing to receive email updates when new articles are published to the McCarthy & Stone online magazine.
We’ll never send you spam or sell your details. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Related Articles

Lifestyle

Sheffield – The Steel Centre of the World

Famed for its industry and innovation, the green, modern cityscape now replaces the smoking chimneys from the industrial revolution. There’s a friendly, independent and alternative spirit that can be hard to find in other cities alongside a thriving cultural scene. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Top 11 British Hidden Gems

Where are the best locations in the UK to visit... that you've probably not heard of? We've ranked the best hidden gems around Britain, that are easy to access, and offer a great weekend away with the family. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Do Pets Make You Happier?

Whether you're a pet owner or have a pet free home, animals of all kinds have been proven to improve the happiness of their human counterparts. To find out more McCarthy & Stone conducted a survey to see how pets enrich their owners lives. Here are the results! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Let’s Dance 

It’s sociable and fun, and it’s good for your health and your brain – time to put on your dancing shoes  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Thought Behind Your Home

Prospective homeowners will be delighted to know all aspects of their new living space – including the communal areas – have been considered during the design process, helping to make their lives more comfortable and a little easier  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Making your memories last forever

It’s never been easier to keep your most precious memories alive. From personalised photo albums and keepsakes to specially commissioned biographies and films, there are many ways to create a very special legacy – and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it. Here are a few ideas to inspire you  ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 Recipes For A Royal Wedding

We look into the perfect recipes to pair with a royal wedding. We've picked out the most delicious, as well as the quintessentially British for the special occasion! ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Best Golf Courses in the UK

Now is a great opportunity to get out on the fairway and get practising. We've looked into some of the best golf courses in the UK, including golf courses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to get you ready and eager to tee off this spring and summer. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Small is Beautiful - Balcony Gardening

Creating a beautiful outdoor space on a balcony can bring a lot of pleasure to you and your visitors for minimum effort. Balcony gardening offers the joy of plants but without the work that usually goes with a garden – you shouldn’t have to do much weeding for a start, you won’t get slugs, and there’s no lawn to worry about! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Advice For Low Maintenance Gardening

Let’s be honest, we’d all love a gorgeous garden that would blossom with just the wave of a weed-wand. But I can’t be the only one who finds that a few minutes pottering turns into hours of pruning, trimming and raking at times.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Great British Outdoor Experiences the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Finding an activity that the whole family can enjoy together can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially amongst the hectic schedules of our day to day lives. However, spending time together in the great outdoors is the perfect way to leave behind those digital distractions and create some precious family memories that will last a lifetime. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Retirement Stories

You may wonder just how you will spend your retirement or worry that you will not find enough activities to fill your time. This can be far from the truth, these active retirees share their inspirational retirement stories  ...Read more

Lifestyle

How Do You Want To Live Your Life?

Enjoying a fulfilling retirement isn’t just about where you live. How you live plays an equally important role when it comes to getting the most out of what ought to be an extremely rewarding time of life.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Dating for over 50s: how to find love in later life

Love in later life can seem daunting. If you’ve been married for some years and are recently divorced or widowed, looking for love is a whole lot different today than it was back when you were young. But that’s no reason to be put off – you’re never too old to fall in love! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the Scenes

There’s a vast team working all year round at McCarthy & Stone to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here we talk to three of them… ...Read more

Lifestyle

How we help every step of the way

McCarthy & Stone knows that communication is key when it comes to making a decision as big as moving into a retirement development, which is why it has staff ready to talk through the process, says Rachel Halliwell ...Read more

Lifestyle

Return of the Spider Plant

Remember when trailing greenery hung from macramé pot holders in every bay window in the country? Well, the good news is house plants are back in vogue. Here’s how to make the most of them ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Generation

Are you member of the Inspirational Generation? We want to hear your stories. Enter our competition and tell us why - you could be in with the chance of winning £2,000! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Starting a new chapter in your life

Many people feel apprehensive about selling their family home, says Rachel Halliwell. Yet McCarthy & Stone managers see the worry and weight being lifted from the shoulders of homeowners once they move in. It’s like being on a permanent luxury holiday, said one ...Read more

Lifestyle

What we don't miss about being younger

The study by leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, reveals sitting exams, enduring the daily commute and the stress of running a family, are among some of the things the older generation DO NOT miss about being younger. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Teams Behind the Scenes

McCarthy & Stone has a vast team working round the clock to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here, we talk to three of the key players...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the scenes: Interior design

A lot of work and careful planning goes into creating the beautiful interiors of a McCarthy & Stone development. Interior designer Hannah Gernon explains how she arrives at the finished results ...Read more

Lifestyle

Childhood memories at Waverley House

Mary Kent lived at the first McCarthy & Stone Development to be built, Waverley House in New Milton. Here, her granddaughter Tania Harland shares wonderful childhood memories of spending time there, which inspired her to work for McCarthy & Stone when a job opportunity came up 10 years ago. ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 gardening tools for the elderly

Whether you've been a gardening enthusiast for years or only recently discovered the joys of green fingers, getting your hands dirty in the garden can become more difficult in later life. We look at tools that can make this hobby easier. ...Read more

Lifestyle

GrandFest

Come to GrandFest and join us throughout June and July for a celebration of heritage skills in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. ...Read more

Lifestyle

A Date To Remember: 1977

It was a year of social unrest, high inflation, patriotism and punk rock. It was also the year that John McCarthy and Bill Stone built their first retirement apartments. As McCarthy & Stone celebrates its 40th anniversary, we take a look back at the highs and lows of 1977. ...Read more

Lifestyle

40 Years On...

Celebrate 40 years of retirement living solutions with McCarthy & Stone. Discover how we are commemorating this special event here! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding Love In Later Life

They'd both lost their partners 9 years ago and moved to a McCarthy & Stone development, but little did Ann and Robin know they were about to start something very special...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Frontline Extra

We are excited about the next few months! Mother’s Day, the feel good movie of the year could well be perfect for your mom this Mother's Day! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding love

Meeting someone new in later life, for companionship and love, can seem impossible, but these couples show that it can happen! ...Read more