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Case study: better banking for a care home provider

29th Jan 2024
Brought to you by
Allica Bank logo
Allica Bank is Britain’s award-winning business bank focused exclusively on supporting established...
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Care homes are a crucial part of the country’s fabric. As we age and our needs change, and care homes provide a safe and comforting respite for families up and down the country. 

Ashley Care Group
Allica Bank

Running these businesses can be a complex task, requiring diligent financial and operational management. Regular Care Quality Commission assessments and audits are one thing. But if that wasn’t enough, they do it all while operating at the sharpest edge of humanity and emotion. There is no room for poor service when people’s lives and wellbeing are on the line. 

Thankfully, the UK has some fantastic care providers, including Ashley Care Group. This is the story of how they were able to grow their business sustainably by purchasing an additional care home with support from Allica Bank, and how others like them can do the same. 

An overview of Ashley Care Group 

Ashley Care Group is a family-run business based in Norfolk, operated by local care professionals Ashley and Ania George.  

The business has grown healthily since 2003, expanding their existing premises and adding new homes to their roster. Today, they operate five 24-hour, round-the-clock-care homes spread across the Norfolk countryside, each of which is well-reviewed and valued by residents and their families. In total, the business has 179 beds for residential and dementia care. 

The business prides itself on “maintaining a ‘person-focused’ quality of life for all our residents”, Ania told us, offering everything from games and nostalgia afternoons to hairdressing and therapy sessions. 

Ashley is proud to say that “the business, our staff, and our residents are an important part of their local Norfolk communities.” 

An opportunity emerges 

Hemsby is a quaint seaside village on the Norfolk coast, north of Great Yarmouth. Popular with tourists, retirees, and young families alike, it’s the perfect location for a care home, for both its road connections and beautiful surroundings. 

Ashley and Ania were well aware of the potential for expansion in Hemsby and, in early 2023, an opportunity finally presented itself to buy a care home to add to their portfolio. 

As an Allica Bank customer since 2022, Ashley and Ania have access to a relationship manager. Every business current account customer does. With big ambitions for expansion but not a lot of certainty about what was viable, they spoke to their relationship manager Eugene Vichare about whether Allica could help. 

Making sense and making plans with their relationship manager 

Having genuine “human interaction and understanding between me, Ashley and Ania – and my own care home sector expertise – made a real difference,” Eugene reflected. 

“When working with a bank on a project like this,” he said, “particularly in the care sector, a relationship manager can be so important.” Buying a commercial property can be complex at the best of times, but “the amount of regulation and intricacies in a care business can make it very challenging.” 

Ashley and Ania had a conversation with Eugene about what was possible and reasonable for their position and were pleasantly surprised. Eugene’s knowledge of their business, the sector, and the lending market (and Allica’s position within it) gave everybody the confidence that the purchase could take place. 

Fast progress towards an exciting future 

“Funding the fifth care home was easy,” Ashley said. “I was especially pleased with the process – it only took six weeks, which is fantastic compared to my experience with other banks.” 

The value of an informed and switched-on relationship manager shone through for this process. Eugene’s aforementioned care home expertise and relationship with Ashley Care Group meant the process was smooth, required less admin time from Ashley and Ania, and could be ironed out in well under two months. 

What’s next for Ashley Care Group? 

The quick process meant the business has been able to kick on and plan for an even brighter future, as Ashley explained. “We’re now trying to spend more money on each care home, upgrading the rooms and making the gardens better. We are also hoping to expand to more homes, grow naturally, make them bigger, and add even more facilities.” 

“I can honestly say,” Ania told us, “that I have never worked with a nicer, more understanding or more effective relationship manager. Part of Ashley Care Group’s success is genuinely down to him.” 

Do you have a care home client like Ashley Care Group and want to discuss how we might be able to help them? Speak to our team today.

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Alternatively, watch the full video of how we helped Ashley Care Group here