Ex-Ullapool care home building to be transformed to support independent living

Maree Todd
Ullapool MSP Maree Todd has said the former care home has a positive future

A Highlands social housing provider has secured planning approval to transform a disused care home staff accommodation block into homes that will allow people to live independently for longer.

Albyn Housing Society has exercised an option to purchase a staff accommodation block that was part of the former Mo Dhachaidh care home in Ullapool. The organisation will now finalise plans, appoint a contractor and convert the property into four one-bedroom ‘Fit homes’.

Fit homes, pioneered by Albyn Housing Society as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal, utilise predictive behaviour pattern sensors and harness artificial intelligence and machine learning. The sensors share real-time information with family members, caregivers or key workers who have access permission. Unlike cameras, they still offer a high degree of privacy to occupants.

The acquisition is part of a community-led initiative to retain some form of care provision within the Ullapool area following the closure of the adjacent care home in March 2023. The property has been purchased by Albyn using grant funding from the Scottish Government and The Highland Council.

The care home building was rescued by the Highland Hospice and is currently used by NHS Highland as a health centre.

Kirsty Morrison, group chief executive of Albyn Housing Society, said, “We knew there was a lot of concern amongst the local community when the care home closed last year and Albyn was keen to play our part in ensuring there would still be a form of social care available locally. Our state-of-the-art Fit homes have been hugely successful in other parts of the Highlands including Lairg, Nairn and Dingwall and mean that residents can live in their own home, independently, for longer. It often helps them remain in their local community too, which is often a challenge with such a wide geographical base as is the case in Highland.”

MSP for Ullapool, Maree Todd, added, “As someone who lives in the Ullapool area I know how important it is for local people to have the option to grow old in their own community. Last year’s closure of Mo Dhachaidh was a severe blow to residents, staff, and the entire Ullapool community, however, with this new project led by Albyn providing independent living options, and NHS Highland still operating part of the former care home as a health centre, this building has a positive future at the heart of the community.”