SOMERSET Care has confirmed the exchange of contracts to transfer ownership of two care homes that were at risk of closure to an independent provider.

Sunnymeade in Chard and Critchill Court in Frome were transferred to Agincare (Somerset) Limited.

A Somerset Care spokesperson said: “Following the announcement of the proposed closure of these two care homes on February 28, Agincare put forward a proposal to acquire the two care home businesses from Somerset Care and take on the lease of the buildings from Somerset Council.

“Following the assessment of this proposal by our solicitors, contracts have now been exchanged between Somerset Care and Agincare.

“We have communicated this update with our staff teams, residents, and their relatives today.

“As an independent, regional, privately-operated, not-for-profit care provider without any shareholders, it is sadly no longer financially viable or environmentally sustainable for Somerset Care to continue to deliver high-quality care in these two care homes.

“We, therefore, believe that transferring ownership of Critchill Court and Sunnymeade to Agincare is the right and responsible thing to do.

“Somerset Care has exchanged contracts with Agincare, which is a family-owned care provider that operates a number of care homes around the country, including one in Somerset.

“They have committed to continuing to run the businesses as care homes, supporting current residents with care which meets their needs, in the environment which they already call home.

“The employment of all current staff at Critchill Court and Sunnymeade is protected by law.

“We view these plans as a positive opportunity for Critchill Court and Sunnymeade, and all those who live and work there.

“It remains business as usual at Critchill Court and Sunnymeade, and we will continue to share updates with our team members, residents, and their families as plans progress.”

A spokesperson for Agincare said: "Agincare can confirm that we have exchanged contracts with Somerset Care regarding Critchill Court in Frome and Sunnymeade in Chard, and that our team is excited by the prospect of welcoming them into the existing network of 29 care and nursing homes.

"We are a family-owned, independent care provider with strong values and over 37 years of experience delivering high-quality care and support across the country.

"Our wide range of care services covers not only care homes but live-in care, home care, and supported living.

"Agincare is a robust, agile and sustainable organisation that is extremely experienced in operating a broad range of care services, including care homes, where each home requires a different approach depending on the local community it serves. 

"What doesn’t change is our commitment to delivering high-quality personalised care for everyone that draws on our services, regardless of whether they are supported by a local authority, NHS, or are self-funded.

"Agincare’s success is built on strong partnerships, and our positive track record over many years is evidence of the successful transfer and management of care homes and other community services from local authorities, charities, and other such organisations.

"This includes Beaufort Park retirement and care home community in Burnham-on-Sea and Furlong Close supported living community in Rowde, both of which were at risk of closure before being transferred to Agincare and are now once again thriving places for people to live.

"Drawing on decades of experience and expertise, we are committed to a homely, warm, and person-centred approach to care, and to building a deep relationship with the communities we serve. 

"Agincare has a long-term and sustainable business plan, with no private equity investors, giving confidence in our future to everyone who draws on our services, and their loved ones, as well as to those who choose to build their career with us.

"We are proud of our skilled and caring workforce, and the inclusion of so many long-standing team members.

"We look forward to working with Somerset Council to manage, invest in, and develop Critchill Court and Sunnymeade care homes, ensuring their long-term future, safeguarding jobs, and providing local people with the peace of mind of having a home in their own community."