Maryland care home to create 240 jobs in Belfast
A new home for elderly and vulnerable adults in south Belfast is to open with the creation of 240 new jobs as part of an £8.3m investment.
Audrey Lockhead, a former head of Four Seasons Healthcare in Northern Ireland, is one of three directors involved in the new 80-bed Maryland Healthcare centre in Castlereagh.
Around 100 building jobs will be created during construction of the site off Knockbracken Road.
Approximately 140 people will be employed when the centre is up and running next year.
The positions will range from senior nurses and carers to administrative, kitchen and domestic staff.
The home, which has been in the planning stages for 10 years, will cater for older people with dementia, vulnerable adults and adults with a physical disability.
Ms Lockhead, the chair of Maryland Healthcare, said the centre was a new development in care for the elderly.
"Services will include sub-acute intermediate care, complex nursing care, enhanced palliative care, and learning disability and physical disability care," she added. "It will be one of the largest new-build health facilities in Northern Ireland in recent years.
"Maryland will be a benchmark healthcare facility that has taken 10 years to bring to fruition. It is a good and worthwhile challenge for which we would like to commend the planning department and the then Castlereagh Borough Council for their foresight."
The development is supported by Ulster Bank. Kenton Hilman, head of corporate banking NI at the bank, said: "The management team behind Maryland Healthcare has considerable experience in the sector, from a care and an operational perspective, and has provided a fantastic vision and plan for the scheme.
"Ulster Bank is delighted to support it, given the economic and social contribution that it has the potential to make through its development and operation."
Co Down construction firm Killowen Contracts is carrying out the building work on the new centre.
Director Maurice McGivern said: "This is a truly significant healthcare scheme, with more than 100 construction jobs sustained during the development, peaking at around 200.
"We take great pride and care in our work, and are very pleased to be on schedule to hand the scheme over to Maryland Healthcare on time and on budget."
Ms Lockhead said the centre would encourage a "new model of service". "We will be able to promote dignity, privacy and independence for residents as we will have four, self-contained units with 20 beds in en-suite bedrooms," she added.
"It will have a high spec of care and much more specialised than the standard nursing home. Many existing nursing homes were good in their day, but are no longer fit for purpose. With this, we are bringing care of dementia patients to the next level."
The facilities will also enable residents to mix with each other or be cared for privately.
Ms Lockhead was managing director of Four Seasons Healthcare until 2007.