Eco-friendly Stockton care home to open

AN ECO-FRIENDLY care home which is thought to be first of its kind in England is getting ready to open its doors after creating 50 jobs in Stockton.

The Maple Care Home, is a state of the art facility which is believed to be the first in England to use an Austrian building block – the Wienerberger Porotherm flat clay block – which makes buildings airtight and reduces the energy needed to maintain an optimum temperature.

The home also incorporates a number of eco features including under-floor heating from air-source heat pumps, rainwater harvesting from a flat roof and solar panels for hot water.

To further strengthen the environmentally friendly emphasis, this £3.5m investment from B&K Developments has also created 50 jobs in a unique and pioneering recruitment campaign with Know How North East (KHNE).

Back in May, more than 60 residents from the Primrose Hill area in which the care home development is situated turned up to Newtown Community Resource Centre to hear about the plans for the care home facility.

Following this, 45 unemployed local people signed up to complete an NVQ in Health and Social Care with the hope of finding employment in the sector. Since then, ten of these – along with five others – have been employed in the first of three stages of recruitment.

Danielle Barnes, programme manager for Know How North East, said: “We have been working with B&K Developments to make employment for local people a real option.

“This project is a good demonstration of how a new approach to targeted regeneration can work in communities.

“By employing people from the locality this development will have a significant impact, transforming the area and recreating a sustainable community where people can and want to live and work.

“Plus, and this is central to our efforts, the 10 from the immediate vicinity who have gained employment will all be able to walk to work, removing the cost of transport and reducing their carbon footprint.”

This joint venture with B&K Developments is the first to be delivered as part of Stockton’s Communities Fund programme and aims to demonstrate how genuine partnership working across the private, public and third sectors can provide real benefit to local people.

Karon Morgan, director of B&K Developments which also runs Witton Care Group which will be operating the care home, said: “This is a completely new development for Stockton and we are committed to ensuring that it benefits local people.

“We have been working with KHNE to develop a recruitment strategy with the aim of targeting resources at the immediate locality to ensure that local people are provided with the opportunity to gain employment.”