The Milestones Trust reported a slight drop in its total incoming resources from £28.9m in 2016 to £28.5m for the year ended 31 March 2017. However, donations and legacies and other income was higher in the previous year, leaving the charitable operator just £0.1m down on revenues from its care services.
Providing nursing and residential care in its 40 homes, which range from small domestic properties accommodating four or five people to a purpose-built dementia facility for 73 people, cost £29.8m (2016: £28.3m), leaving the operator with a deficit of £1.4m compared with a £0.6m surplus the previous year.
The Trustees reported that 2016/17 was a ‘difficult year financially’. It opened its 73-bed Abbey House dementia care service which, along with the broader challenges within providing care for older people, was responsible for the deficit. As a result, it has closed a home in Pill, Somerset.
They said: ‘The health and social care environment has continued to be a demanding one to operate in. The austerity measures imposed on local authorities and the CCGs have continued to have an effect on our business and the fee rates. It has helped that overall the Trust has managed to maintain high occupancy in services that were not subject to refurbishment.’
‘Despite the challenging financial year and the austerity of the commissioning environment, the underlying Trust balance sheet remained sound. Demand for Trust services remained strong. At 31 March 2017, net current assets stood at £3.2m and net total assets were £20.7m. The value of outstanding mortgages has increases, reflecting the construction loan drawn down for Abbey House.’
In addition, the Trust entered into a partnership with Knightstone Housing last year to provide supported living services to six people. The Trustees added: ‘The Trust also continues to win tenders to provide care packages to people in their homes.
This type of accommodation remains in very strong demand and promoting independence has always been one of the aims of the Trust. For the service users who are able to gain increased rights (and responsibilities) by becoming tenants, the move is always seen as a positive step. Over 250 people are supported in their homes to live the life they choose.