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EXCLUSIVE: Market leader Care UK share new build plans

Geoff Edwards

Care home new build market leader Care UK is planning another busy year with six launches this spring and a further seven homes under construction. CHP caught up with operations director (north), Geoff Edwards, at Care UK’s launch of its Trymview Hall care home in Bristol last month to find out more.

As operations director (north), Geoff (pictured) leads Care UK’s new build programme in an area spanning east of England (Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk), Berkshire, Cheltenham, the Midlands, the north-west and north-east, and up into Scotland as far as Aberdeen.

CHP caught up with Geoff at the launch of its latest new home, Trymview Hall in Bristol, which marks a new phase in Care UK’s market leading mission to provide state-of-the-art purpose-built care homes focused on the private pay market.

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Trymview is a typical example of the high quality homes offered by Care UK that cater for the full range of residential, dementia and nursing care needs.

The home, which marks Care UK’s entry into the Bristol area, provides full-time residential and dementia care for up to  66 local people and has been designed to enable residents to live active and fulfilled lives, while also promoting independence. Trymview will incorporate space for hobby and leisure activities and will include its own cinema, hairdressing salon and café.

Looking at Care UK’s further new build plans, CHP was interested to learn what were the main demand drivers fuelling the care provider’s rapid growth.

“The biggest driver is obviously a demographic one – there is a growing number of older people who are no longer able to manage to live in their own home who want to live in surroundings that allow them to lead a life that is as active and fulfilling as possible,” Geoff explained.

“Most of the demand at the moment is driven by people who will fund their own places. Our new homes with their coffee shops, cinemas, accessible gardens, hobby rooms and smaller informal seating areas, offer an attractive alternative to the older properties which characterise the homes of many smaller providers with small bedrooms, big dining areas and narrow corridors.”

With regard to his region, Geoff said Care UK was seeing the strongest demand for self-pay places in Kent and Edinburgh where the care home provider has opened a spate of new homes.

A further two homes will open in Kent this spring along with services in Hythe, near Southampton, and Chester, Bracknell, and Sale, providing a combined 400 beds. In addition, Care UK has a further seven homes under construction that are due to open between June 2020 and October 2021.

Geoff said Care UK was also planning to expand into new regions such as Quorn, Tayside and Chichester.

Further plans have been submitted for a 70-bed care home in Dundee, although the proposals have been met with some opposition from the local community.

Geoff told CHP each home was carefully designed to make the best use of the available site with those opening over the next 18 months ranging from 58 beds to 77 beds.

Each care home is further divided into smaller suites for around 20 residents to create more homely dining areas and lounges for residents to enjoy.

Looking at the Care UK group as a whole, Geoff said growth was evenly split between the north and south regions.

“It’s always a balance between finding areas where we think demand will be strong and where suitable development sites come on the market,” he noted.

Looking ahead, Care UK’s expansion drive looks set to remain focused on the private pay market. While, its recent partnership with Suffolk County Council has been hugely successful with half of the portfolio rated Outstanding, Geoff said the potential for further partnerships remained limited because of tight local authority budgets, although the provider remains open to offers.

“Perhaps the fact that half of our Suffolk homes are now rated as Outstanding and the other half are already Good will prompt more interest in the future – we’re always open to informal discussion from our public sector partners,” Geoff concluded.

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The author Lee Peart

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