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In the lead up to International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8th March, Adlington, a developer of communities and apartments designed specifically for the over 60s, is celebrating the success of women in the construction industry with its co-founder, Karen Gladman.
Karen, 59, along with her husband, David, sold her first house 25 years ago to fund the couple’s first property development, a collection of three courtyard houses in Warrington, signaling the beginning of the Gladman Group. Hard work and grit saw Gladman’s properties increase rapidly, and Karen has continued to prove a shrewd business woman, heading up the expansion and exponential growth of Adlington under the Gladman banner, which has been developing retirement communities and apartments specifically for the over 60s since its first development in Rhos-on-Sea in 2009. Eight years on, the business is set to invest almost £80 million across seven new sites in 2017, and Adlington’s expansion goes some way to addressing concerns raised in the recent Housing Whitepaper, by providing the older generation with the opportunity for independent living in a suitable environment.
Speaking about her experiences and the future of Adlington, Karen said:
“I’m certainly very proud of what we’ve achieved with Gladman, and in particular, Adlington, so far.
The Adlington concept of independent, retirement living was much less common than it is now when we started developing it eight years ago. At that point we identified a serious deficit in the number of extra care establishments available to older buyers. By developing our concept further, we actually felt that we would provide a much-needed service to the local community.
“Adlington provides a way of living that allows homeowners to keep their independence at the same time as having the option of care within their own home. It means someone is always there in an emergency, greatly reduces the number of people that have to enter care homes, and can provide great relief to families as a whole.
“As a family based business, Gladman and Adlington are now a lot bigger than they were, but we never want to lose the family feel and it’s important to us to deliver a personal approach when it comes to the people that work for us – they are the team that make everything happen.”
She continued: “Of course, building the business hasn’t been easy at times, but throughout my entire career I have never encountered any restrictions because of my gender. When David and I first started Gladman there weren’t very many women working in the construction industry, and although this is increasing, I want to assure women that it is a very rewarding trade to be a part of. My experiences in this industry are only positive, and if women want to work in construction they shouldn’t let anything hold them back.”
Karen’s vision and compulsion to provide help to local communities continues outside of her working environment, and as well as working full time, she volunteers at the Donna Louise Trust, a children’s hospice in Stoke-on-Trent, at least once a week.
Speaking about her connections with the charity, Karen says:
“David and I had three healthy children and were very keen to help those who weren’t as fortunate. The Donna Louise trust means a lot to me and I run a friends group for the charity now. We are a very small group of five people and we raise between £25,000 and £30,000 a year, which helps with running costs of the hospice.”
With a successful career built to date, Karen shows now signs of slowing, and is looking forward to growing Adlington and continuing to provide care, help and support for the many that benefit from it.