Wokingham Borough Council has purchased a local care home for £4.1 million after being considered a 'business of going concern'.

The Berkshire Care Home, located on Barkham Road, is owned by Four Seasons Health Care for residents suffering with dementia.

With an ageing population, the demand for dementia and nursing care in Wokingham Borough is expected to grow over the next ten years. As a business of going concern, the purchase of The Berkshire Care Home is set to provide the borough council with the immediate resources it requires to support the needs of the community.

The Berkshire Care Home was renamed Bluebell House – following consultation with residents, their families and staff after the purchase in September 2023.

Cllr David Hare, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, said: “This is really exciting news for our borough. The purchase of this care home will enable affordable residential places in Wokingham Borough for our residents.

"If we hadn’t stepped in, this would have led to another less affordable care home in the borough and could potentially mean the residents having to move to alternative accommodation, which would have been very unsettling.

"It is good news as people can remain in comfortable, familiar surroundings, while family and friends will continue to be close by, which is so important.

Although the council is facing huge financial challenges, it has bought the care home as a long-term investment to ensure some of the most vulnerable in the community are protected.

Wokingham Borough Council has said that they aim to ensure that local people can stay in their communities by offering them high-quality nursing care within the borough when needed.

The 50-bedroom care home, located on Barkham Road, will now be run by the council’s own social care provider Optalis Ltd. As Optalis is 100% council-owned, it means any financial surplus generated through its operations is returned to the borough council, for further investment in local services.

Since the council exchanged contracts with Four Seasons back in July, efforts have been made to ensure residents and their families, as well as the care home staff, were informed of the plans to ensure there is a smooth transition to the care of Optalis.

The building is currently being updated, with the refurbishment set to make it a more dementia-friendly and welcoming environment.