by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

During a major anniversary year, BCM (Belfast Central Mission) has announced that Copelands, the organisation’s new £5 million development on the County Down coastline, is on track for completion early next year. The announcement comes as key stakeholders gathered on-site to witness completion of the complex’s footprint, with all major ground floor brickwork, internal drainage, and concrete flooring now complete.


Due to open in March 2020, Copelands will provide up to 50 full and part time jobs across nursing, domestic and management with many voluntary roles also available. Downpatrick-based engineering contractors Hugh J. O’Boyle is spearheading the construction and build work, creating 40 jobs during the construction phase alone.

Marking its 130th anniversary in 2019, BCM’s flagship project will provide the highest standard of practice-leading dementia, nursing and residential care for up to 60 residents across two floors with each en-suite private room enjoying views across the rolling drumlin countryside or out towards the Irish Sea.

BCM Chief Executive, Nicky Conway, said;

“We are thrilled to be at this very exciting stage of the Copelands build. To see the structure take shape really gives a sense of the scale of the project and builds a tangible anticipation for all that is still to come.

“Copelands will encompass everything needed to create a genuine home from home where people can enjoy fulfilling lives. We are in the process of recruiting a Nursing Manager who will lead the team here in delivering the highest possible level of care for our residents and provide that sense of reassurance for their families.”

Located on the picturesque coast between Donaghadee and Millisle, Copelands is being built on the former site of BCM’s two original care projects; Childhaven orphanage and later conference centre and the Craigmore children’s home.

Declan McCormick, Managing Director of Hugh J. O’Boyle, said;

“For a coastal site, we have been blessed with good weather during the majority of 2019 so far, which has allowed us to largely stay on track during the build schedule.

“Our suppliers and contractors have maintained pace and professionalism and, as with the super structure, notable and visible milestones are being reached and the next major step will be to get the roof on to ensure the building is watertight to facilitate the interior design and fit out.”

Copelands has been designed by Northstar, the only specialist care home design and development consultancy in the whole of the UK.

Director at Northstar, Danny Sharpe, said;

“Copelands has been designed with the differing cognitive, social and physical abilities of its residents in mind and offers an innovative model of care that is person-centred and provides choice for residents.

“Designed to make the most of this stunning location, the finished home away from home will incorporate a wide range of facilities on site including a salon, first floor garden, dining areas and extensive landscaped grounds for residents, families, their guests and staff to enjoy.”

The long-term plan for the Copelands site will incorporate a further phase of extra care housing which would see Copelands ultimately become Northern Ireland’s first Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

A proactive and ongoing fundraising effort for the project includes the opportunity to ‘Buy-a-Brick’, corporate affiliation or sponsorship, local support and charitable efforts. Upcoming events include a 24-hour sponsored silence by one of BCM’s Board members, a 30 mile walk by the organisation’s Superintendent and a community event to be held at Killard School, Donaghadee on Saturday, 24th August.

BCM was founded in 1889 as part of the Methodist Church’s response to inner-city issues. Today, the organisation continues to work with communities across the whole of Northern Ireland through a range of social care projects and service delivery in Belfast, North Down and Ards, Magherafelt, Dungannon, Armagh and Craigavon.

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