It began with a converted country house in Angus, an entrepreneur and a plan to make a difference in the care sector. Today, with 26 homes, Balhousie Care Group is one of the leading providers of care for the elderly in Scotland, providing care to more than 900 residents.
1991: With the purchase of a beautiful country home in Angus, the journey begins
The journey begins when entrepreneur and Balhousie Care Group founder Tony Banks buys a beautiful Victorian property in Kirriemuir, Angus and converts it into a care home. His aim? To vastly improve quality in the care home sector. Tony lived upstairs with a young family while the work was finished.
1992: Lisden opens its doors
In the Spring of the following year, Lisden, a Victorian mansion with landscaped gardens and ensuite rooms, opens – with just one resident, Mrs Chalmers. Occupancy builds up rapidly and Lisden remains to this day the company’s flagship home.
1995: Balhousie Care Group is born
When Perth & Kinross Council begins selling off some of its care homes, Tony takes the leap and buys North Inch care home in Perth. It is here, in North Inch car park when speaking to his accountant, that Tony comes up with the name for the company while looking at Balhousie Castle.
2005: The empire grows, with an aim to raise standards in the sector
By 2005, care homes have been established in Carnoustie, Arbroath, Perthshire and Kinross-shire. Banks’ aim is to raise standards in the care home sector by offering better accommodation and facilities than his competitors. The company grows through property acquisition, including a specialist care unit in Balbeggie, now ASC.
A head office is established in Forfar. Up until then, the home and support teams worked out of the homes.
North Grove is built right next to North Inch. This was Balhousie’s first purpose-built home, built from scratch.
2010: Old meets new at Ruthven Towers
An extensive refurbishment programme is completed for Ruthven Towers in Auchterarder, bought in 2007. Ruthven Towers’ doors had closed for 12 months as the traditional style and architecture of the Victorian villa was merged with the new.
2010-11: New builds and a foothold in Dundee
2010 to 2011 sees several new-build homes established, including Forth View in Methil, Coupar Angus, Orchard Court in Balbeggie and Clement Park in Dundee. Balhousie will go on to own three care homes in Dundee, which remain among its most popular homes.
2011: Balhousie Care HQ moves to Perth
Coupar Angus care home is built from scratch and opens to residents for the first time.
Head office moves from Forfar to Perth and state-of-the-art offices at Broxden Business Park.
2012: St Ronans joins the fray
Balhousie St Ronans, a £5 million development, is purpose built and opens its doors in September.
2016: Balhousie joins the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail
Oor Wullie Noo, one of the sculptures that forms part of the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail in Dundee, is created by local artist Alison Price. Alison paints it at St Ronans where residents provided the inspiration for the sculpture depicting the Oor Wullie cartoon character as an elder.
Balhousie Care Group launches a Participation Charter, handing power to residents to be part of the decisions around their care. It’s a pioneering moment in the care home sector; Balhousie is the first care home group to launch such a Charter.
2017: Happy 25th Birthday!
Balhousie Care Group celebrates its 25th birthday and Oor Wullie, won back by the group at auction, sets off on a tour of the all 25 care homes. The activities generated on the back of Oor Wullie Noo’s visits provide a priceless experience for local communities, as well as residents.
We launch our dementia strategy and an ambitious Dementia Ambassador programme which commits to having ambassadors in every care home who drive forward our initiatives in a trickle-down effect.
Always a committed supporter of charity, we ramp our efforts this year by supporting the first Sleep in the Park to raise awareness of homelessness. A group of employees, from care assistants to company Chairman, endure sub-zero temperatures and spend the night in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens.
2018: Four core values and national recognition
The group launches its four company values – Trusted, Responsive, Inspired, Passionate – to sum up what drives us to provide the care that we do.
Awards have been prolific for Balhousie Care Group over the years, but 2018 sees us recognised nationally, with a National Care Award and RCNi award for our care management and dementia services. We also scoop Service Business of the Year at the Courier Business Awards.
As Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park expands to major cities across Scotland, we ramp up our support for homelessness. Our sleep-out team this year expands to more than 200 and takes place at Dundee’s Slessor Gardens.
2019: More awards, Everyday Heroes and a nod from Phillip Schofield
What began as an internal staff incentive programme, Everyday Heroes, is rolled out as a public campaign to celebrate our employees and drive recruitment.
We acquire another Oor Wullie sculpture, part of Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail, this time designed with the help of our residents and local schoolchildren.
In another move to support our valuable staff, we launch a Mental Health Charter that commits to having Wellbeing Champions in our homes and head office who are tasked with being ‘mental health first aiders’ in the workplace.
We’re the proud winner of seven awards, including: Carer of the Year and Emerging Talent in the Scottish Care Awards; Growth Business of the Year at the Courier Business Awards; Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Growth Award; and SME Scotland Businessman of the Year for Chairman Tony Banks.
A dementia-friendly initiative at our home in Huntly, in which newborn lambs from a local farm visit with residents, gains national media coverage, culminating in a slot on ITV’s This Morning.
“Everything and everyone contributes to the caring, friendly family atmosphere at Balhousie.”
- Daughter-in-law of resident
For us, great care starts with strong company values
Balhousie Care Group is centred around four core values: Trusted, Responsive, Inspiring, Passionate. From induction and training through to daily staff huddles, they’re what drive us, and what set us apart from other care providers. .