The Anchor Group is England’s largest not-for-profit housing association, providing housing, care and support to people over 55 years old. Registered as a charity, it is one of the largest in the UK, with a turnover of £367.3 million in 2015/16.
Anchor is headquartered in central London, with main offices located in Bradford. It employs more than 8,500 people nationally and has a growing number of volunteers..
Its patron is Princess Alexandra.
Anchor was established in 1968 by Cecil Jackson-Cole, as Help the Aged (Oxford) Housing Association, to provide sheltered housing to older people. By 1972, the organisation had completed its first new-build properties and begun diversifying into both leasehold and rented accommodation.
The organisation became Anchor Housing Association in 1975, and launched its first care homes in 1982.
Anchor's multi award-winning Denham Garden Village – their largest development of retirement properties to date – opened in 2004.
Anchor has since continued to grow its existing services and diversify into new services such as retirement villages and extra-care housing, becoming a thought-leader in caring for individuals with dementia and promoting equality for minority groups, such as LGBT groups.
The organisation rebranded from Anchor Trust to Anchor in 2010, adopting a new logo and refreshed brand image to reflect the range of services on offer.
In 2010 the high salaries of housing association executives drew criticism from the incoming government, in particular that the highest paid executive at a housing association was the chief executive of Anchor, earning £391,000 per year. The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, said that the pay packages were unacceptable.
In 2012 they opened West Hall a ground-breaking care home in West Byfleet in Surrey. In the same year it won the Best Interior Dementia Design category at the National Dementia Care Awards 2012.
In 2015 they closed down their office situated in Newcastle, in order to create the new 'Support Hub' situated in Bradford.
Anchor plan to develop around 2500 new units of accommodation over a 5 year period and have opened a series of new developments since April 2015:April 2015 - Buckingham Lodge care home
August 2015 - Bishopstoke Park retirement village and Maple Tree Court care home
September 2015 - Mayflower Court care home and Clayburn Court care home
December 2015 - Moore Place care home
January 2016 - Hampshire Lakes retirement village and Austin Place retirement apartments
October 2016 - Hurst Place retirement houses
Anchor currently offers three main services:Retirement properties to rent - Anchor lets a range of properties, typically flats although Anchor does possess some bungalows, at more than 700 sites across England. Each site is overseen by a manager, and has access to a 24-hour emergency call system. Anchor also provides a number of extra-care properties, which provide a balance of care between the standard retirement property and a care home.
Retirement properties to buy - Anchor manages a portfolio of 200 leasehold estates, with the individual owning the property and Anchor providing the necessary property management service. Anchor has in recent years responded to the growing demand for higher-quality retirement properties, including the The Laureates, in Guiseley, near Leeds. They are also investing in new retirement villages; Bishopstoke Park and Hampshire Lakes, both in Hampshire. These new sites include a number of innovative features for retirement housing, such as spas, swimming pools, salons and cafés.
Care homes - Anchor operates a number of care homes across England, each providing trained 24-hour personal and practical support. Anchor advocates the personalisation of care provision and has been politically active in promoting person-centred dementia care, for which the organisation provides specialised dementia care homes. These specialised dementia homes use the latest techniques and understanding to assist individuals living with dementia, such as sensory gardens and contrasting colour schemes. 87.3% of Anchor’s homes were recently rated as being ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ by the Care Quality Commission. In 2015 Anchor acquired 24 care homes from LNT Group as well as the Cavendish Healthcare Group's five care homes.
Anchor is governed by a trustee board of non-executive directors, and an executive management board of executive directors. Anchor’s current Chief Executive, Jane Ashcroft, was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Social Care award at the Great British Care Home Awards 2010 in recognition of her "...[leading] the agenda on developing quality care services across the continuum of care." She also topped a high-profile list of the most influential people in social care at the Care Talk Awards 2012, and is a trustee of The Silver Line, a helpline for older people. Ashcroft is a graduate of the University of Stirling. She was awarded a CBE in the 2014 New Year Honours.
The non-executive board members are:Pamela Chesters, CBE – Chair. She is Chairman of Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, and has also chaired the boards of the leading charity Action for Children and Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest NHS trusts in the UK.
Stephen Jack - Vice Chair
Rima Makarem - Trustee Director
Mark Allan - Trustee Director
Alun Griffiths - Trustee Director
Richard Jones CBE - Trustee Director
Professor June Andrews OBE - Trustee Director
Richard Petty - Trustee Director
Anchor’s services are regulated by the Care Quality Commission, the Homes and Communities Agency and The Charity Commission.
Anchor has frequently sought to use its profile to draw attention to issues within the care environment. The organisation has published white paper documents investigating ageism on television, lobbied parliament on the importance of older people's issues, and sought to underline the importance of person-centred care.
The organisation has also campaigned to highlight the importance of retaining residential scheme managers at retirement properties.
In 2011 Anchor launched The Grey Pride campaign, calling on government to appoint a Minister for Older People to prioritise the needs of older people and make sure their views and interests receive dedicated attention. The petition gathered 137,000 signatures and was handed in to Downing Street on Monday 28 November 2011. As a result of the campaign the shadow cabinet appointed Liz Kendall as Shadow Minister for Older People. Penny Mordaunt MP secured a debate on the topic in the House of Commons on Thursday 28 June 2012.
In June 2013 a charity single was released by The Anchor Community Band to celebrate the positive aspects of ageing and challenge stereotypes and misconceptions in a fun and inclusive way. More than 350 people from Anchor’s retirement housing and care homes were involved in recording the song. It reached number one in the Amazon singles chart and raised over £15,000 for national charity Contact the Elderly.
Anchor's innovative model of dementia care, Anchor Inspires, is an internal accreditation delivered to Anchor Care Homes that deliver the highest standards of dementia services.
As well as recognition for its dementia training, Anchor has also received praise for its work in palliative care, and nutrition and catering.
Anchor were one of the first organisations to pioneer Your Care Rating, a groundbreaking customer satisfaction survey first conducted by IpsosMORI in 2012.
The organisation is a member of the Care & Support Alliance and a founding member of the Associated Retirement Community Operators Limited (ARCO). Anchor Chief Executive Jane Ashcroft is Vice-Chair of ARCO.