Suffolk/Bury St Edmunds: Topping out ceremony marks first year of care home partnership

The topping out ceremony at Davers Court care home in Bury. L-R: Cllr Alan Murray, Dean Richardson (

The topping out ceremony at Davers Court care home in Bury. L-R: Cllr Alan Murray, Dean Richardson (contracts manager, Castle Oak) and Chris Hopkinson (regional operations director Care UK). - Credit: Archant

The first anniversary of the partnership between Suffolk County Council and Care UK - which is building replacement care homes across the county - was marked with a topping out ceremony.

Yesterday, representatives from Care UK, its development partner on the project Castleoak and the county council placed a fir tree on the roof of the under-construction new Davers Court care home in Bury St Edmunds.

The Davers Court care home and wellbeing centre, at the site of the former Davers Court in Shakers Lane, is part of a £60million three-year plan for 10 similar new developments.

On December 1 last year Care UK began operating the county council’s 16 care homes and eight wellbeing centres. One year on, construction of seven of the 10 new developments is under way as part of the phased modernisation programme.

The 10 large new care homes - ranging in size from 60 to 80 bedrooms - will boost the number of care home beds from 526 to 680.

The number of people in the county aged over 75 with dementia is expected to grow by nearly 100% between now and 2030, from 8,600 to 17,000.

Alan Murray, cabinet member for health and adult care at Suffolk County Council, said: “It has been a long-term priority for the council to identify and then deliver a long-term solution to the changing care needs of people in the county.

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“The existing care homes have serviced their communities well but it is the right time to replace them with facilities that support staff in the delivery of high quality, personalised care.”

Phil Andrews, partnerships director at Castleoak, said planning permission had been achieved for eight homes so far, with decisions due for the remaining two over the coming weeks.

Davers Court, which will open in late summer next year, will be for up to 60 residents and will provide nursing and specialist dementia care services alongside facilities including a landscaped garden, cafe, hairdressers and cinema. The wellbeing centre will provide day care activities and clubs.