Pensioners in Birmingham will abandon crosswords and knitting for keep fit and abseiling as part of a new retirement homes project.
The ExtraCare Charitable Trust has started work on the first village in New Oscott, with schemes planned for Acocks Green, Egg Hill and Newtown, to offer more than just retirement accommodation.
Residents will be able to keep fit in their own gym, relax in a spa bath, pick up groceries in the village shop, and take part in a host of activities and classes held in the community hall.
Hundreds of city pensioners were invited to Birmingham Town Hall as the charity yesterday launched its £10 million appeal to fund the four projects. Olive Quinn, who beat breast cancer twice, said she planned to play a central role in the New Oscott village, which she hopes to move into next year.
The 67-year-old, who is in a wheelchair and lives in Erdington with her husband Chris, a retired plumber, said: "I really liked the sound of all the activities that are organised for residents. I want to have a go at archery and, once I'm back on my feet, I'd love to try abseiling as well.
ExtraCare already has funding in place for specially adapted apartments and bungalows, but the community facilities such as a gym, village hall and related activities will cost £10 million to fund across all four sites.
It is also appealing for corporate support, either financial or providing equipment for the communal areas. Their villages in New Oscott and Newtown are set to be completed by the end of 2009, with similar sized communities due to open in 2010.
John Payne, the charity's partnership director, said: "Britain's ageing population is set to double by 2020 and we've been liaising with the city council over these projects, in order to meet the needs of Birmingham's older community.
"The focus of our villages is around health and wellbeing, allowing residents to live independently by providing all the services and facilities they need on their door step. But one in three of our residents need some kind of nursing or support care, whether it's help getting out of bed and dressed in the morning or if they're terminally ill and need palliative care.
"The villages are a relatively new concept for us, because what we're really about is providing care and support to elderly people."
One-bedroom properties at the New Oscott village, which will be home to more than 350 people, can be bought from £80,000 - either outright or in a shared-ownership scheme - or rented.