Belfast Telegraph

Co Down nursing home firm creates 80 new jobs

By Jamie Stinson

Co Down-based Healthcare Ireland is creating 80 new jobs as it completes its first of a dozen new nursing homes following a £5m investment.

The jobs will be created at a new north Belfast nursing home as the firm - part of the construction group Aspen Ireland - launches an ambitious plan to build 12 homes throughout Northern Ireland over the next four years. The new jobs are on the back of a £5m investment, with the firm receiving support from Ulster Bank.

With 82-bed Bradley Manor on the Crumlin Road completed this month, work will begin on its next project in Glengormley, followed by a new home to be developed on North Queen Street. 

In addition to the care jobs, the firm expects these developments to create 120 construction jobs on each site.

It will enter the Republic of Ireland market later this year, with plans to develop a new home in Dublin.

The family-run business started as a construction firm in 1978, but, like a lot of companies in the sector during the recession, it has had to diversify.

The Holywood-based company has built 11 nursing homes in Northern Ireland and England, but this is the first it will run.

Gilbert Yates, managing director of Healthcare Ireland, said the firm made the move into running nursing homes as it felt there was a lack of care homes being supplied across the province.

“There is a distinct shortage of quality, purpose-built nursing homes in Northern Ireland, and we are proud to be providing facilities that far exceed the requirements, including the very latest technology and individual care plans for residents,” Mr Yates said.

“We have worked closely with Ulster Bank to invest in a wide range of healthcare development schemes in greater Belfast during recent years, of which this is the latest, creating hundreds of jobs through the construction phase and stimulating regeneration in an area of social need,” he added.

Andy Mills, regional director of business banking for Ulster Bank, said: “Ulster Bank has £1.5bn to lend to businesses this year and we are keen to support entrepreneurs like Mr Yates in making investments that create jobs and support local communities.”

Meanwhile, construction firm Gilbert Ash has created 40 new jobs in the first half of 2015 after winning a series of UK contracts.

This has included a £13m refurbishment contract at the National Army Museum and a £20m contract at University College London. There has been a growing trend of Northern Ireland construction firms being forced into doing more of their work in Great Britain, in particular south east England, as contracts in the province have significantly reduced.

Ray Hutchinson, managing director of the firm, said Gilbert Ash has been more specialised in niche areas, which has allowed it to win more contracts.

“By specifically targeting bespoke projects in niche areas, we have won a number of high-profile, multi-million pound contracts and we anticipate further wins in the coming year,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph