A £14.8 million care home is set to welcome its first resident next week as it looks to tackle a shortage of places.
Headed up by Graham Care, it is hoped the 101-bedroom Whitstable House in Boorman Way, Whitstable could address issues in the area with a lack of places for those requiring special aid.
Previous estimates by care providers eyeing up the town suggest the number of people across the district over the age of 85 is forecast to rise by 59% by 2035 – 10% higher than the projected national figure.
Ernie Graham, who has run the company alongside Dr Karen Graham since 1996, told KentOnline he was delighted to finally see the facility open up.
The 62-year-old said: “We were struck by the fact Whitstable is high on the list of areas suffering from a care home shortage.
“It’s clearly been in short supply for some time so it’s nice for locals to be able to have this facility closer rather than having to travel far – which can isolate those needing care.
“It’s been quite a number of years of planning and construction but it’s been a great journey with the local authorities and the community which we’re grateful for.
“We’re delighted to be coming here, we want to place a real emphasis on helping those in the area.”
Weekly charges for Whitstable House rooms will start from £1,695 a week – with a second occupant adding £1,095 to the cost.
However, it will also take in those receiving help from NHS or other social care providers to make the facility accessible for everyone.
Graham Care acquired the land in 2017 and has overseen the development of the site since breaking ground in 2021.
Each of the 101 suites comes with a dining room, a lounge, a sleeping area and a kitchenette compacted into one room with a bathroom attached.
In-house carers and nurses will provide round-the-clock care – though those needing more than four hours of help a day will have to pay £25 an hour for extra attention.
When fully operational, it is hoped as many as 120 people could be employed within the home on both a full-time and part-time basis.
Mr Graham says the location was chosen to allow for close co-operation with the nearby Whitstable Medical Practice.
Graham Care runs 10 nurse-led care homes in Surrey and Kent, with other sites in the county including Pembury, Dover, Hawkinge and Ashford.
It also has a contract for a new 74-bed site in Bobbing near Sittingbourne.
Plans to build a 75-bedroom, three-storey care home elsewhere in Whitstable were unveiled in November last year.
Care developer Aspire LLP hopes to erect the facility on land just off the Old Thanet Way in Whitstable, near the large Tesco superstore.
There are 36 care homes across Canterbury, Herne Bay and Whitstable – with 14 having closed in the past 10 years, according to Aspire.