Suffolk County Council and Care UK, which is helping fulfil the Council’s vision for older people’s care, have celebrated the first anniversary of their partnership with a ‘topping out’ ceremony at the new Davers Court care home and wellbeing centre in Bury St Edmunds, which is part of a £60 million three-year plan for ten similar new developments. A traditional Suffolk-grown fir tree was placed on the roof.
On 1st December 2012 Care UK began operating Suffolk County Council’s former 16 care homes and eight wellbeing centres, welcoming almost 500 residents and over 1,000 former Council employees. One year on, the carefully coordinated and phased modernisation programme, which will increase the availability of nursing and dementia care in the county, has made excellent progress, with construction of seven of the ten new developments already underway.
The number of people in the county aged over 75 with dementia is expected to grow by nearly 100% between now and 2030, from 8,600 to 17,000. With this in mind, Care UK was selected by Suffolk County Council through competitive tender to help fulfil the vision for older people’s care and committed to invest £60 million into purpose built care homes and wellbeing centres which will replace the existing homes which date from the 1960s and 1970s. All residents and their relatives are being very carefully consulted about the plans.
Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care at Suffolk County Council, Alan Murray, said: “It has been a long term priority for the council to identify and then deliver a long term solution to the changing care needs of people in the county.
With Care UK we identified a provider who could deliver ten new care homes and wellbeing centres, which would be flexible in design and therefore able to take into account the change in care needs of people in the future. The existing care homes have serviced their communities well but it is the right time to replace them with facilities that support staff in the delivery of high quality, personalised care.
It is great to see Davers Court heading towards completion and pleasing that the development plan is on track. The first year partnership with Care UK has proven to be very successful”.
The first three homes and wellbeing centres, Mildenhall Lodge in Mildenhall, and Asterbury Place in Ipswich and Davers Court in Bury St Edmunds, will open to residents in summer 2014. The outcomes of planning applications for the final two developments in the plan (in Eye and a second home in Bury St Edmunds to replace the existing Glastonbury Court) are expected in the coming weeks.
Care UK Regional Operations Director Chris Hopkinson, said: “The achievements to date are down to the very constructive working relationship we have established and the hard work of all the teams involved in delivering on our promises. The effective partnership with Suffolk County Council enabled a smooth transition and our focus in the existing homes has been on maintaining the high levels of care which residents enjoy.”
In a Care UK Relatives’ Satisfaction Survey published in November, Hawthorn Drive care home in Ipswich achieved ‘best home’ out of all of the 107 Care UK homes nationally. Suffolk was the ‘best region’ in the UK.
Care UK’s development partner for the reprovisioning programme is Castleoak, who’s Partnerships Director Phil Andrews, said: “It has been a very close and productive relationship, working with Care UK on this extensive programme of ten new care homes and wellbeing centres. Having achieved planning permission for eight homes so far, with decisions due for the remaining two over the coming weeks, our focus is now very much on construction. We're on track and look forward to seeing the first homes open next year.”
In March 2013 St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s planning committee gave the green light for the new Davers Court care home and wellbeing centre, to be built on the existing Davers Court site. The home will be for up to 60 residents and will provide nursing and specialist dementia care services, alongside attractive facilities such as a fully landscaped garden with sitting out areas, a café, hairdressers and a small cinema. The generously sized bedrooms are all ensuite with shower facilities and, to give a homely feel, small groups of residents will share their own dining room and lounge. The design is spacious, light and airy, with many communal areas for residents to meet with family, friends and fellow residents.
The wellbeing centre will provide day care activities and clubs, which will help older people to maintain their independence for longer in their own homes and give valuable respite services for family carers.
Residents of the previous Davers Court, which was built in 1969, will have the opportunity to move into the new home when it opens in summer 2014. The residents and their families are being fully consulted about their options.
For more information about Care UK’s Suffolk development project or the current Care UK services provided in the county, visit www.careuk.com/suffolk or call 0333 321 0956.