A COMPANY set up by Southend Council to run care homes in the borough lost more than a quarter of a million pounds in its first year.

Despite the loss, the council says Southend Care has had a “successful” first year as the figures were expected to be worse and the deficit is less than predicted.

Southend Care Limited was formed in April 2017 and provides adult care and support services at Delaware, Priory, Viking and Spencer houses - which are all care homes in the borough.

Southend Care provides residential care, day opportunities, reablement, domiciliary care, rehabilitation, respite, employment support, shared lives and supported living.

The council says it aims to build on these core services and add extra care housing and floating support services. in the coming year and plans to continue with the firm.

The company will also look to expand over the next 12 months.

Discussions have already been held with South Essex Homes with regard to the sharing of resources, knowledge and potentially bidding for services together.

The company is looking at building relationships with voluntary providers.

A report to councillors revealed the overall loss for the first whole year of trade April 1 2017 to March 2018, was £81,000 in addition to a one off loan made by the council of £203,000.

This was against a predicted loss of £125,000 which did not include the loan.

John Lamb, leader of the council, said: “Although, the original Southend Care business plan projected a deficit of £125,000 for year one, Southend Care actually closed its first year with a deficit of £81,000, a positive £44,000 improvement against the original business plan.

“Southend Care is also required to cover the additional one off implementation costs of £203,000 that the council incurred setting up Southend Care.

“This is in the form of a cash loan agreement for repayment to the council once the company is generating sufficient profits to cover this repayment. Southend Care is required to reflect the additional implementation costs in its first year of trade.”

The money will be repaid to taxpayers if the company makes money.