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The Orders of St John Care Trust celebrates landmark Topping Out as new care home in Wheatley, Oxfordshire, moves closer to welcoming first residents

Not-for-profit care provider, The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT), and specialist care home building company, Lawrence Baker, came together to mark a key construction milestone – known as “topping out” – at the Wellford Gardens development in Wheatley. The new luxury care home is due to open in late autumn.

OSJCT’s CEO, Dan Hayes, and Chair of Trustees, Mark Everall, marked the construction milestone by placing the final tile on the roof before the internal fit-out commences. They were joined for the occasion by other key representatives including Cllr Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Councillor and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, and Carl Wilson, Contracts Manager for Lawrence Baker, whilst also giving thanks to Frontier Estates, the developer of the home, and QP Architecture.

At the ceremony, Dan Hayes commented: “It’s wonderful to see Wellford Gardens coming to life, and what will be a significant asset to the Wheatley community. What’s being built here is a care home of the highest quality, that’s fit for the future, and ensures that the latest skills and innovation come together to give our residents everything they deserve, and most importantly, it will be full of the love, compassion and care you would expect from the Orders of St John Care Trust.

Carl Wilson, Contracts Manager for Lawrence Baker, said: “It’s been great to be a part of the topping out ceremony with OSJCT. As specialists in care home construction, Lawrence Baker has been delighted to bring our experience to this project with the Trust. We’re sure Wellford Gardens will be a wonderful addition to the local community in Wheatley.

Located just off the A40 on Park Hill, the project will deliver a three-storey home with 65 bedrooms, offering residents an all-inclusive, luxury lifestyle, and round-the-clock residential and dementia care. The home design includes innovative new technologies such as acoustic monitoring and a fresh air ventilation system. Acoustic monitoring is a non-obtrusive method of detecting out of the ordinary sounds at night-time, triggering an alert for staff to respond as required, thereby enabling residents to enjoy a more peaceful night’s sleep. Fresh air ventilation keeps the air fresh and healthy indoors, while air conditioning will be used in communal spaces to offset high temperature summer days. Landscaped gardens (including private patios) will enable individuals to maintain an active lifestyle, while a specially designed dementia-friendly garden will provide valuable sensory stimulation. Facilities will include a private dining room, hair salon and nail bar, therapy room, activities and exercise rooms, and a coffee lounge.

Cllr Tim Bearder said: “It is a real privilege to have the first care home since 2012 open on my watch as Cabinet Member for Social Care, but also in my division. The fact that the development will sit in the heart of the village in which I live means I know it will deliver real benefits for the local community.

The Orders of St John Care Trust is an extremely valued partner for Oxfordshire County Council and I look forward to continuing our prosperous relationship.

Mark Everall, Chair of OSJCT, said: “It’s a great matter of pride for me, as Chairman, that this is happening now. For the Trust, it marks the next step in a healthy development pipeline. In addition, it is pleasing that this development is taking place in Oxfordshire. Oxfordshire is a county where partnership and mutual respect between the commissioner and the provider plays an important role in providing services for those who need our residential care.

The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) has recently received a ‘Top 20 Care Home Group’ Award in the Large Care Home Group category of’s 2023 Awards, announced in April. The Award is based on reviews by those who live in one of the Trust’s 61 care homes. Reviews can also be submitted by friends and relatives of residents in care homes. Thousands of providers were in the running for an Award. OSJCT has over 3,000 reviews on the site and an average score of 9.5 out of 10 (as of February 2023).

The home looks forward to welcoming its first residents later this autumn with the marketing suite being available for viewing by potential new residents and employees from June. Those wishing to make an expression of interest or to find out more in the meantime can contact OSJCT’s customer service team on 01522 405782.

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