Scots serial entrepreneur Robert Kilgour is stepping up investment in the Aberdeen operation of his Scottish Renaissance Care business.
Work is about to start on a £2m refurbishment of the 35-bed Cowdray Club care home, a listed 19th century building in the Ferryhill area of the city.
The 40-week contract, which has been awarded to local company Morrison Construction, includes internal alterations and refurbishment to the existing building and a total refresh of existing facilities.
This comprises new mechanical and electrical installations, sanitary ware, alterations to room layouts, and new finishes to floors, walls and ceilings with redecoration throughout. Bedrooms will be equipped with new fittings and furnishings.
Externally the works include hard and soft landscaping, car park enlargement and an accompanying refresh of the existing areas of the garden. The building fabric works include stonework, roofing and window repairs.
Further works are planned at Renaissance’s three other care homes in the Aberdeen area – Torry, Jesmond in Bridge of Don and Persley Castle.
Robert Kilgour, who is chairman of Renaissance Care, said: “We are a strong family-owned Scottish company and the Aberdeen area is very important to our ongoing growth strategy.”
Kilgour said: “Despite the challenging time for the care of the elderly sector, we are still working hard at improving our facilities where possible for residents and staff. We believe this kind of investment will attract the standard of staff that we require to help the business move forward.”
The Aberdeen management area also covers two other Renaissance Care homes in the northeast – Meadowlark in Forres and Wyndwell in Peterhead.
Kilgour previously had success in the sector as the founder of Four Seasons Health Care, which he started with one care home in his native Fife in the late 80s, before departing the company in 2000 – by which time it was the fifth largest business of its kind in the UK with over 100 homes and 6500 employees.
Now he is focused on growing his latest venture, which he founded in 2004, Renaissance Care.
Renaissance will have a turnover of close to￡20m this coming year, and now employs almost 800 staff in its 12 care homes throughout Scotland. It is wholly owned by Kilgour and the senior management team.
Speaking about the care home sector landscape, Kilgour said: “I fully welcome and support the Scottish Government’s introduction of the Scottish Carers Living Wage (SCLW), now £8.45p an hour for all carers in Scotland over 18 years of age. I
“I genuinely believe that our hard working care staff deserve to be paid more for the excellent job that they do. I am also hopeful that the introduction of the SCLW will help care homes to improve both staff recruitment and staff retention and that it will help reduce the requirement for expensive agency staff.
“However, as generally about 75% of our residents are local authority funded and between 60 -65% of our fee income goes on staff costs, it is only fair that our main customer, the Scottish Government, properly funds this welcome and progressive move that they have made.
“I feel very strongly that the independent sector provides good quality of care and very good financial value for taxpayer’s money. However, after several tough years, there is simply no fat left in the sector to absorb the significant increases in costs involved in these increases in pay, even if they are welcomed and deserved. I am seriously worried that we are very close to reaching a tipping point for the care home sector in Scotland.
“If funding is not improved, and quickly, I believe that many more care homes will close in Scotland and fewer new care homes will be built. This will worsen the already growing net annual loss of care home beds in Scotland. This is causing increased NHS bed blocking, increased NHS costs and more cancelled operations. This is all happening at a time when the demographics are showing that there is a need for more elderly care beds not less.”