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Operators have launched new initiatives for young visitors

The lunchtime menu includes sausage and mash with beans, followed by chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream.

But here at Wadswick Green retirement village in Wiltshire this isn’t for the residents, it’s for their grandchildren.

It’s just one initiative to make retirement villages more attractive, with operators realising that their offerings have to appeal to youngsters keen to visit their grandparents.

Youthful appeal: Wadswick Green retirement village is one of many that are being more attractive, with operators realising their offerings have to appeal to youngsters keen to visit their grandparents

One Wadswick Green resident, Marilyn McGee, 82, has 13 grandchildren, all of whom are regular visitors.

‘The key to encouraging grandchildren to visit is to make staying with granny and grandad feel like a holiday,’ says Wadswick Green’s chief executive Richard Williams.

The events manager at Lifecare Residences’ London retirement village, Battersea Place, not only takes movie requests from visiting grandchildren, but provides popcorn in the cinema. 

Retired businesswoman Anne Hobson, 78, moved from Fulham to a two-bedroom apartment at Battersea Place a year ago.

‘I always had my grandchildren in mind before I bought,’ she says. ‘I wanted it to be something they could enjoy, too.’

Anne, a widow, has four grandchildren and has looked after her grandson Alfred, 14, and granddaughter Jemima, 12, during the school holidays since the death of their mother, Anne’s daughter, two years ago.

‘Alfred loves the billiard room and Jemima and I are often in the craft room,’ she says. ‘Now they have got to know other residents’ grandchildren so it is sociable.’

Retirement villages differ when it comes to charging visitors — and most make it clear that children can’t use the swimming pool after 6pm.

The guest suite usually costs about £20 a night and can accommodate two people.

It seems grandchildren of all ages and tastes need to be catered for. 

Joan Golding, 89, moved to Anchor’s flagship scheme Bishopstoke Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire, two and a half years ago, and has grandsons aged between 22 and 25. 

‘My family has always enjoyed visiting me,’ she says. ‘The highlight is dinner at the on-site restaurant.’

Fun for the young: Beechcroft¿s Frenchlands Gate in Surrey caters for grandchildren

Fun for the young: Beechcroft’s Frenchlands Gate in Surrey caters for grandchildren

Bishopstoke Park comprises 91 apartments and an on-site care home. A second phase is under way for 73 one-and-two-beds.

Facilities include a swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, juice bar, shop and craft room.

‘We understand how important it is to make our developments family friendly,’ says Howard Nankivell, at Anchor.

Joyce Howes, 72, moved to Renaissance Villages’ Millbrook Village in Exeter in April to be closer to her son and his family. 

‘My youngest grandson is 11 and swims with me in the on-site pool or plays snooker in the clubhouse,’ she says.

Millbrook Village has a restaurant, bar, cinema, gym, swimming pool, library, coffee shop, snooker room, and activity room, all of which are greatly appreciated when the grandchildren of residents pop in.