Funding boost supports refurbishment of care home

A residential care group that provides support and accommodation for young people with complex social and emotional needs is using a six-figure funding package from Unity Trust Bank to develop its portfolio.

Josh’s Place owns The Willows in Redcar and The Beeches in Stockton and the £420,000 refinance loan from Unity will fund the refurbishment of a recently purchased property called The Oaks, also in Stockton, and the acquisition of a fourth home.

Established in 2018 and named after one of the owner’s sons who is autistic, Josh’s Place cares for and supports vulnerable children aged eight to 18.

Managing director Zak McIlhargey said: “We would like to continue developing our services in Teesside as there is a need for good quality care providers like ours where the accommodation and the quality of our management and staffing structure is quite exceptional and sector leading.

“We have made a significant investment in each of the properties we’ve bought to ensure they are of the highest standard.

“We have a very generous staffing complement in each of our residential houses and the new service at The Oaks will create 15 new employment opportunities in the local area.

“We chose to refinance with Unity because they understand businesses like ours. Their ethos fits in with what we’re about – excellent social care establishments, outstanding care and support for the children and young people, creating jobs and improving communities.”

While the company was originally set up to care for and support children with autism, it now offers generic care and will rebrand as Ar Cúram, which is Gaelic for ‘Our Care’.

Zak, who has 31 years’ experience in social care, said: “Each home cares for a maximum of five children who require support due to of their personal circumstances, which could be in related to, trauma, neglect or anxiety.

“A large number of the children and young people we care for are stigmatised and stereotyped therefore, we make sure they are kept safe and support them to develop, learn new behaviours and meet personal milestones in life just like any other children.”

Michael Wicks, relationship manager at Unity Trust Bank, said: “We align our operations and practices to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and our lending and activity helps drive positive impact in many areas, including the provision of quality education and building sustainable cities and communities.

“We’re delighted to support Josh’s Place and the valuable work they do in Teesside.”

Zak and his fellow directors Paul Middleton and Mark Dalzell were introduced to Unity by broker John Carling of Solutions Northern.