60 Seconds with… Gil Summers, Co-founder of Sun Park Living
60 Seconds with… Gil Summers, Co-founder of Sun Park Living, a private gated community resort exclusively for those who are retired and active, located on the year-round sunny and warm Canary Island of Lanzarote.
What does it say on your business card?
If I had one it would say “Gil and mobile number”, that´s how people know me. And if I had a door, it would always be open, I am available for everything, any time of the day, I´m always on call!
How did you first get involved with Sun Park Living?
Ever since growing up on a kibbutz, I´ve always thought it would be an ideal environment for people who no longer have the responsibility for keeping a full time job or raising a family, to experience a living situation which has a strong community ethos to it. Our involvement with retirement holiday living was something we have been working towards for a long long time.
What is Sun Park Living in a nutshell?
Sun Park Living is a living solution within a holiday resort environment, exclusive for ‘SunRockers’, and that means people who are active semi or fully retired, who want to spend a few weeks, months and even longer, in a relaxing atmosphere, with like-minded, community hearted people. All activities and events are organised by the ‘SunRockers’ themselves and guests who choose to get involved.
How does it differ from other retirement villages?
There are a number of important differences between Sun Park Living and other retirement villages. The hassle free-accommodation is rental only. No bills to pay. No maintenance to worry about. No central heating problems. Just an affordable fixed 4 weekly payment. There is a holiday feel to it with new guests arriving weekly so there is a feeling of stability as well as transience, and because Sun Park Living is a social enterprise, all the use of communal space was given to the Community at no cost, to create and run their social life. There is even a community operated Shop and Cafe on site, managed directly by the ‘SunRockers’ themselves, with the support of those guests who may wish to take part in it.
So, who exactly are these ‘SunRockers’?
‘SunRockers’ are community hearted and minded people, who are no longer in full time employment nor raising a family, and wish to maintain an active lifestyle in a sunny, friendly, safe, relaxing and invigorating environment. They organise their own group activities and events, and help, in turn, minding their own Community Shop and Cafe. Their cheerful disposition and caring nature is instrumental to the ethos of the community and without them none of this would be possible.
And why Lanzarote? What makes it the perfect retirement destination?
Lanzarote and the Canary Islands are renowned for their year round sunny and warm weather, stunning natural scenery, wonderful people and culture as well as fantastic food and wines. It´s a much-loved destination by all, there´s a wonderful combination of European culture and standards, Latin American influence and Caribbean weather. Plus, there are daily inexpensive direct flights from most UK and EU airports which is a real bonus!
Describe a typical Sun Park Living resident
We have a good balance of couples and singles, men and women, from 60-90 years old, all looking for companionship, good weather and a relaxing atmosphere. Because it´s so convenient and affordable to stay here, SunRockers say that the “real currency” to be here is ones willingness to be a good fit and contribute to the social fabric of its community.
Usually, SunRockers may be seen leading their own lives, as they would in the UK, and many spend the afternoons and evenings in groups doing anything from gardening, book reading, watching movies or simply “hitting the town”, it´s all about enjoying life in good company, and that can definitely be achieved here.
It is very rewarding to watch them all blossom, some right from the moment they arrive, into active members of the Sun Park Living community. We´ve even witnessed mature children bringing their parents to see if Sun Park Living is good for them, seen how they care and protect them, and when they leave, suddenly mum and/or dad change into a fully independent ‘SunRocker’, it´s exhilarating to watch them having such an enjoyable time, confirming that Sun Park Living is absolutely worth it.
What does 2014 hold for Sun Park Living?
For the SunRockers and Guests – more fun, friendship and good times in the Spanish sunshine. Our charitable Foundation is looking to keep making an impact and spread the word about the benefits of community living in retirement.
For more information about Sun Park Living visit the website at www.sunparkliving.com or call 0161 408 3360. You can also follow Gil and the team on Twitter or Like them on Facebook.