Specialist children’s care venture launches with UK-wide ambitions

From left: Dr Jane Toner, Paul Marriner, Jonathan Wrigley, Hugo James, Mark Dyson, Phil McCoy

A group of experienced social care, children’s services and housing professionals are aiming to become the UK’s biggest provider of specialist children’s care and housing in the UK.

Heath Care Group, based in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, has already secured funding of £5m to begin the roll-out of 36 new-build three-bedroom houses for vulnerable young people who will receive therapy and care from support staff and managers.

Twelve developments in Greater Manchester are already completed and currently awaiting inspection by OFSTED, with a further 12 in the region earmarked for purchase.

The company is also targeting 12 more off-plan properties in the Midlands.

All 36 houses are expected to be filled and fully operational by the end of 2020. More than 170 jobs will be created during this period.

The service is aimed at young people aged eight-17 who have been affected by traumatic physical, psychological, emotional or behavioural-related challenges.

Each young person is allocated a house with up to two experienced support staff who provide support and stability in a safe environment 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.

Children are referred into a property by commissioners at local authorities where other options such as care homes or foster care are deemed inappropriate.

Heath Care Group’s chief executive is Mark Dyson, an experienced health and social care professional who has operated in the sector for more than 25 years.

A developer, funding adviser and influencer in specialist social care services, he was more recently the head of new-build development for national care provider Lifeways.

Non-executive directors include Jonathan Wrigley, of Manchester-based specialist supported living developers HBV, Hugo James, who has held senior investment banking and finance posts including at Credit Suisse and Legal & General, and clinical psychologist Dr Jane Toner. The board is chaired by ex-Lifeways chief executive Paul Marriner.

The venture has also agreed a partnership with Meadows Care, a therapeutic multi-bed care home provider based in Bolton, Greater Manchester, and Birmingham. This will enable resources and skillsets to be shared.

Mark Dyson said: “This is all about giving vulnerable young people a launchpad to progress in their lives.

“Only by developing a nurturing and supportive environment will positive outcomes be achieved for some young people.

“Commissioners recognise those young people who need more immediate stabilisation and removal from their existing situation in order to get a better and more appropriate outcome.

“Our plan sees us becoming the UK’s biggest provider of this niche-style of housing and support.

“We are delighted with the feedback and support we have received so far from local authorities, which has given us and our investors the confidence there is strong demand for this style of provision, not just in the North West but also further afield.”

Paul Marriner added: “By blending clinically-led therapy, a safe place to live and individual care, we are pioneering something new which we know will be well received.

“We are excited about the team we have created at Heath Care Group and the delivery partners we have selected.

“Most of all, we are looking forward to working with local authorities to deliver evidence-based positive outcomes for those young people in our society who need it most.”