Published: June 6, 2019
Abbeyfield The Dales today announces it has bought Fern House with the help of loans totalling £8.5 million. The charity offers supported housing, residential care and independent living with extra care for older people in Yorkshire. One in three people born in the UK today will develop dementia and the work of Abbeyfield The Dales helps to combat loneliness and social isolation among those diagnosed with both dementia and Parkinson’s.
Built on the site of the former Bingley Hospital, Fern House opened in 2017 and won the residential category at the prestigious Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards in 2018. The organisation specialises in providing high quality housing and person-centred care services including to those living with dementia. The purchase means Abbeyfield The Dales can now cater for up to 100 residents at any one time, across Fern House’s 30-room care home and 49 flats, providing independent living with extra care, as well as a space that the community can use and enjoy.
Abbeyfield The Dales was able to complete the purchase thanks to loans of £4.7 million from Unity Trust Bank and £3.8 million from Charity Bank. The loans also enabled the housing association to consolidate other debts.
Philip Birkinshaw, Chief Executive of Abbeyfield The Dales, said, “We’ve run Fern House since it opened in 2017 and it has always been our intention to buy it outright, so we’re really pleased to have been able to complete this purchase. Charity Bank and Unity Trust Bank align with our values and understand what we want to achieve as an organisation, so were an obvious choice for finance providers. Our priority is ensuring our residents have the support they need to maintain their dignity and enjoy a fulfilling life. Taking on the ownership of Fern House will help us to do that.”
Margaret Porter, Relationship Manager at Unity Trust Bank, said: “Unity Trust Bank helps organisations to prosper and contribute to economic, community and environmental change. We were pleased to be able to assist Abbeyfield The Dales in the purchase of Fern House, which will continue to provide vital care for people living with dementia and alleviate social isolation in the local community.”
Jeremy Ince, Regional Manager at Charity Bank, said, “Charity Bank was founded to support charities and social enterprises through ethical loans, so we were delighted when Abbeyfield The Dales approached us. Dementia can be a frightening, lonely condition, but when I visited Fern House I could see what a difference specialist care can make. Fern House is more than just a care home – it’s a community.”