Unity Trust Bank and Charity Bank have joined forces to provide loans totalling £8.5m to enable charity Abbeyfield The Dales to purchase the award-winning Fern House, a 30-room dementia care home in Bingley in Yorkshire.

Fern House won the residential category at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards in 2018. The home provides independent living with extra care, as well as providing a space that the community can enjoy. The shared facilities include a kiosk shop, restaurant, laundry, resident’s lounge, sun lounge, hair and beauty salon and a hobbies room.

Abbeyfield The Dales is dedicated to making the lives of older people easier and more fulfilling. The purchase means they can now cater for up to 100 residents at any one time, across the 30-room care home and 49 flats.

Abbeyfield The Dales was able to complete the purchase thanks to loans of £4.7 million from Unity Trust Bank and £3.8 million from Charity Bank. The loans also enabled the housing association to consolidate other debts.

Philip Birkinshaw, Chief Executive of Abbeyfield The Dales, said, “We’ve run Fern House since it opened in 2017 and it has always been our intention to buy it outright, so we’re really pleased to have been able to complete this purchase. Charity Bank and Unity Trust Bank align with our values and understand what we want to achieve as an organisation, so were an obvious choice for finance providers. Our priority is ensuring our residents have the support they need to maintain their dignity and enjoy a fulfilling life. Taking on the ownership of Fern House will help us to do that.”

Margaret Porter, Relationship Manager at Unity Trust Bank, said: “Unity Trust Bank helps organisations to prosper and contribute to economic, community and environmental change. We were pleased to be able to assist Abbeyfield The Dales in the purchase of Fern House, which will continue to provide vital care for people living with dementia and alleviate social isolation in the local community.”

Jeremy Ince, Regional Manager at Charity Bank, said, “Charity Bank was founded to support charities and social enterprises through ethical loans, so we were delighted when Abbeyfield The Dales approached us. Dementia can be a frightening, lonely condition, but when I visited Fern House I could see what a difference specialist care can make. Fern House is more than just a care home – it’s a community.”

Notes for Editors

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Unity Trust Bank
Unity Trust is a business bank with a difference. It lends to commercial firms and organisations who want to help society. Based in Birmingham, it offers an ethical alternative for businesses with a social conscience. 

For over 30 years the bank has worked with organisations and SMEs that share its values and philosophy, offering a full range of banking services including current accounts, savings accounts, and loans.

Independent since December 2015, its purpose is to help create a better society, not just maximise profit.  Unity’s focus on its customers, staff, and the communities it serves is what sets it apart and allows it to deliver on the bank’s ‘Double Bottom Line’ strategy through volunteering, education and fundraising.

Unity is a Real Living Wage employer, a Fair Tax Mark business, a Women In Finance Charter signatory, member of the Banking Standards Board and currently holds the Investors in People Gold standard.

View Unity’s 2018 Annual Reports and Accounts and 2018 Social Impact Report.


Abbeyfield The Dales

The Abbeyfield Society is a nationwide charity of which Abbeyfield The Dales is a member society that provides housing, support and care for people at different stages of later life across Yorkshire.

Abbeyfield The Dales was formed in 2016 as an operating company to manage the care services, extra care services, and properties, of:

  • Abbeyfield Ilkley Society (AIS)
  • Abbeyfield Bradford Society (ABS)
  • Four properties on behalf of The Abbeyfield Society (TAS)

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank for people who want to make the world a better place. We use our savers’ money to provide much needed loans to charities and social enterprises working to create lasting social change across the UK. Charity Bank is a bank run for and owned by social purpose organisations. It aims to provide the finance needed to drive positive social change – bringing benefits for people, communities and the environment.