The Durhamgate care home opened its doors on a freezing wet day in November. The Mayor of Spennymoor kindly opened the show but many invited guests were just simply put off by awful weather. A couple of weeks later we met social care colleagues from Durham County Council, who were, perhaps understandably curious about a business model that offers all-inclusive care and services at a fixed price for every resident at £1295 per week.

Let’s face it, this is not cheap but when you say that it works out at £7.70 per hour that includes 24/7 care by fully trained staff, your own en suite room, 3 meals a day and unlimited snacks, drinks, activities and entertainment it starts to sound not bad at all. Add to that a resident has no more utility bills to cover or Council tax and their nearest and dearest can enjoy meals and occasions for free with them, then it becomes a very compelling offer.

The Northern Echo:
The home worked hard to ensure that the County Council understood the proposition. Their representatives were thorough and asked solid questions. One of their main concerns was that given the fee point, Adore Care Homes would simply serve notice on customers once their money ran out. An understandable concern, perhaps based on their experience of other operations in the County from time to time. In the 25 plus years that the owners have been involved in the sector they have worked hard to develop a good reputation.

Andrew Long, principal director and shareholder explained “we wanted to put the Council’s mind at rest; we typically make sure that a person can afford to fund their care for at least 2 years. This can be a combination of Council fee and what is called a third party top up; often paid for by family. We said to the Council that we will freeze third party top up amounts through to April 2025 to assist affordability” Long added, “no resident has ever been asked to leave one if our care homes after 2 years, based on affordability. We always work with the customer to find a solution.” 

The Northern Echo:
Since opening the home, DurhamGate has received a steady flow of private and Local Authority with top up residents. Karen Johnson, DurhamGate’s General Manager said “our admission process is very safe, we aim to bring in 4 or 5 new permanent residents per month. We have already filled the ground floor and I am now recruiting for new staff. Everyone has to be inducted properly before they start and this determines how many new residents we take in and when.”

All of that said, the best reflection of how good a care home is can be expressed by the opinions of residents and relatives. Adore Care Home’s other home in Yorkshire has been the top rated care home in the whole of Yorkshire and Humber for the second consecutive year, according to the UK’s lead in care home rating site, First out of over 1400 homes.

The Northern Echo:
“The DurhamGate is already well in its way” said Andrew Long, “the home has hit a 9.6 rating out of 10.0 I fully expect it will every bit as successful. Don’t take our word for it though, read the reviews.” As one family summed up recently their Mum never wanted to go into care but after a week of respite care at The DurhamGate, she said she wanted to “stay for good.” As the family remarked “The DurhamGate is no ordinary care home.”