A new health and social care development in the Penrhos area of Llŷn is a step closer, after Gwynedd Council's cabinet voted to press on with a bid for £14.6 million from Welsh Government to fund the building and development of a new care home.

Discussions have already begun with Welsh Government to remodel the care sector in the area and the construction of a new care home on the site of the old Polish Home, at Penyberth, Penrhos which will have around 60 beds. The new home will have a mix of dementia, nursing and respite care.

Two acres of land at Penyberth, Penrhos will be transferred to the Council by Clwyd Alyn Housing Association for the purpose of the project.

The council’s Adults, health and wellbeing department will now present a business case to the government requesting the funding from the Health and Social Care Integration and Rebalancing Capital Fund (IRCF), in partnership with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB).

Back in July 2022, Cyngor Gwynedd and BCHUB agreed on a formal partnership to provide nursing home placements within the county. Since then, work has been carried out to explore how both partners can work together to establish an innovative, seamless and effective care model to meet the future needs of Gwynedd residents.

This exciting project aims to enhance and stabilise nursing care provision within the county. While the Council itself is a significant provider of residential care, at present, nursing homes in Gwynedd are operated solely by independent or third sector care providers.

Councillor Dilwyn Morgan, Gwynedd’s Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for the adult health and wellbeing department said: “Ensuring local people can have the care they deserve close to home is a priority for the Council. A local, sustainable, and high-quality provision of care homes is an essential part of any health and care system. Without this, people are missing out on the health and wellbeing opportunities which should be available to all.

“Unfortunately, there is a dire shortage of nursing home spaces across the county and which is more acute in the Llŷn area with no provision of publicly funded spaces at all. Proportionally, more people from Llŷn are having to travel further away from home and to get the right nursing care.

“It’s a heart-breaking situation whereby the only suitable places for people when they are at their most vulnerable is miles away from home, their families and all that’s dear to them. If people are forced to move outside Gwynedd for nursing care, it is more difficult to ensure Welsh-language services, which often compounded the situation for the individual.

“This is why we’re determined to work with our partners from the health board to bring about this exciting development.”

The approved report recognises that the former Penrhos Polish Home model of care was innovative in terms of keeping its residents well and independent; and underlines the importance of maintaining and building on this ethos with the development of the new home.

Councillor Dilwyn Morgan added: “This project will also be good news for the whole community as we invest in the building process and there will be long-term job opportunities within the care sector. There will be permanent, high-skilled jobs with career progression opportunities at the new home.

“We look forward to continue our recruitment campaign to attract the right people to these posts, making the most of the local workforce’s health, care and Welsh-language skills.”

Ffion Johnstone, West Integrated Health Community director at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We welcome this exciting initiative and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Gwynedd Council on the planning of the development as it moves to the next phase.”

Council officers will now develop detailed designs and plans, to be submitted to the formal planning process during the autumn of 2024, with the aim of construction work starting in the autumn of 2025. It is hoped the home will be complete and ready to welcome its first residents in 2027.