Meet Hannah Thomson: Founder & CEO of The Joy Club

17 January 2022

Posted under: News articles

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Above: Hannah with her Granny Jean, her inspiration behind starting The Joy Club


This January, after your first visit to a Renaissance community you'll receive a complimentary 6-month premium membership to The Joy Club - an online community that provides inspiration and uplifting content for a joyful retirement.*

We sat down with Hannah Thomson, CEO & Founder of the club to discuss why she started The Joy Club and why you should become a member!


Hi Hannah, could you tell us a bit more about your inspiration behind setting up The Joy Club?

My Granny Jean was the inspiration behind The Joy Club. For her, retirement was an opportunity for discovery. Her retirement adventures included backpacking around New Zealand solo, volunteering in Bulgaria and becoming an amazing painter!

Sadly, not everyone has the same experience of retirement. Older people are facing an epidemic of social isolation and loneliness, with 40% of retirees feeling that the television is their main companion.

On losing Granny Jean to dementia, I decided that the best tribute to her would be to share her sense of adventure with as many people as possible. So, I created The Joy Club to enable retirees to meet new people and try new things. Our members can join over 40 live online events a month - ranging from Tai Chi to creative writing - where they can learn and connect with each other. They can also enjoy inspirational articles, posted daily into the membership area, and share their views and experiences by commenting and joining the conversation with other members.


What makes The Joy Club unique?

I think that the most unique and exciting element of The Joy Club is that it is technology that has been designed by retirees, for retirees.

I was very close to Granny Jean but I have never actually been a retired person myself, so I knew it was important not to make any assumptions. I started working on The Joy Club in September 2019 and spent the first six months interviewing people who were retired and semi-retired.

They then helped me create the name, brand, website, categories and more. By the time we launched in December 2020, more than 100 retired people had helped me to create The Joy Club. We now have thousands of members who continue to guide us, as well as a Member Steering Group we speak to monthly. I see my role as a facilitator, building what is needed.

Increasingly, members aren’t just attending events and reading articles - they are running the events and writing the articles. We love this - our members have had such interesting lives and have so many valuable skills, it’s great to see them using The Joy Club to share these with other members.


What would you say is the best part of becoming a member?

It is definitely the people you’ll meet. We have thousands of members across the UK, from the corners of Penzance to the Shetland Islands. They are all united by a sense of adventure and all have interesting experiences to share - real friendships have blossomed amongst our members and it’s truly joyful to see.

There is such a sense of community and support across the membership base, which means that members are willing to try things they’ve never tried before in their lives - for example, our online belly dancing class has become very popular! Our members step outside of their comfort zones and try new things because they can trust that they’ll be with like-minded peers, who are there to have a laugh and share joy.


What feedback have you received from members?

Receiving positive feedback from members is always the highlight of my week! We receive so many wonderful emails and phone calls from members, with stories about how The Joy Club has positively impacted their lives. Here are just a few of my favourite quotes:

“I'd like to thank you for establishing the Joy Club. It has been a most timely addition. I just love the variety of activities you offer and the new connections it affords.” (Sandra, Middlesborough)

“I am 67 and have been a member since the end of January 2021, and have made friends while doing Tai Chi, also getting my balance back doing this very relaxing exercise. I have also given a talk about living and working in Spain, I have taken part in other events, it also gives me something to look forward to each day.” (David, Milton Keynes)

"Thank you, The Joy Club for setting this up for us. It's marvelous and joyful and made me feel a lot happier for being there!" (Liz, Chesterfield)


All of our homes are available to buy or rent with choices to suit your needs. Discover our communities here.

To book your tour of one of our communities please contact us at [email protected] or 08082 580 000

*Terms and Conditions Apply

Visit a selected Renaissance community in January 2022 and receive a 6-month membership to The Joy Club. Membership is limited to one person in the party and only applicable to the first visit. Incentives vary per development, speak to a sales consultant for more information.

The Joy Club incentive applies to the following developments: 

Bourne End | Crowthorne | Marlborough | Poole | Sandhurst | Wareham | Wimborne | Wokingham