A CARE home company says it intends to open a new home every couple of years after agreeing a £26million financing package.

Colten Care, which owns and operates 20 homes in the south and 11 in Dorset, arranged the funding for expansion with a new banker, NatWest.

Work is well advanced on its 21st home, costing more than £10million, in Poole, while a £1.5m refurbishment has just finished at its Canford Chase home in Branksome Park.

Chief executive Mark Aitchison said: “This new finance will allow us to continue with our growth strategy of building new homes, while at the same time maintaining current homes to our exceptional standards.

“Colten Care is different from many other companies in our sector. We are a family owned company with no external shareholders to satisfy and we own the freeholds of all the homes we operate.

“We operate with very conservative levels of bank debt which is all long-term, reflecting our responsibilities and commitment to the elderly care sector. We will not do anything which has the potential to put our residents and the care they receive at risk. They are at the heart of everything we do.

“We’re very pleased to have NatWest on board and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

Paul Stewart, relationship director for Solent healthcare at NatWest Commercial Banking, said: “Colten Care is widely recognised as one of the most innovative and high quality companies in the care home sector. We are very impressed with all aspects of the business.

“NatWest is delighted to assist Colten Care as it continues its organic growth strategy as well as the refurbishment programme for its existing properties.”

The refurbishment at Canford Chase involved all 54 bedrooms plus lounges, bathrooms, hair dressing salon, dining rooms, corridors and outdoor spaces. It was carried out by Colten Care’s sister company, Colten Developments, over an 18-month period, with the home remaining open.

Ringwood-based Colten Care, which employs more than 1,700 staff, also has homes in Hampshire, Sussex and Wiltshire.