A CHARITY providing home care for vulnerable adults says it’s been forced to hand its contracts back to Wrexham County Borough Council or risk going bust.

The announcement comes on the back of a deepening crisis in social care which has seen the recent closures of four care homes in North Wales - Trewythen Hall in Gresford, Bay Court in Kinmel Bay, Gwastad Hall in Cefn y Bedd and Morfa Newydd in Greenfield - with the loss of more than 160 beds, piling even more pressure on the beleaguered social care system and the NHS.

Nick Evans, chief executive of Cymryd Rhan (Taking Part) said: the “unsustainable fees” paid by the council were so low that they faced an annual loss of more than £100,000 if they had carried on.

It would, he said, have meant Cymryd Rhan being faced with a choice of either effectively subsidising the council for the services they had commissioned or having to run services with insufficient numbers of staff to provide the support people needed.

Meanwhile, Ceredigion Council is taking over the Hafod y Waun care home in Aberystwyth after it was one of 10 sites put up for sale by the charity Methodist Homes (MHA) because of the “real challenges in ensuring the ongoing sustainability” of the home.

Cymryd Rhan, which has its headquarters in Wrexham,  has been providing nine main services across Wrexham, supporting 24 clients and generating an annual revenue of more than £900,000.

Since October 2021 the charity has ‘topped up’ the salaries of its 27 care and support workers by dipping into its own reserves.

The charity said it would be both unlawful and untenable to continue with further annual deficits which would expose its Board of Trustees to substantial personal liabilities.

Managers had repeatedly requested a 13.1 per cent uplift on contracts this year from Wrexham Council, sharing their accounts in an ‘open book’ exercise to outline the financial challenges they faced.

However, the council only offered a maximum of 10.10 per cent. This meant Cymryd Rhan needed to tap into its cash reserves to meet its contracts and ensure sufficient staff were in place to deliver them.

Councillor John Pritchard, Wrexham Council’s Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Cymryd Rhan has informed us it will no longer be able to provide services in Wrexham after September, after we were unable to reach an agreement on the fee increase for this financial year.

“Our main priority is that the 24 individuals affected continue to receive the care and support they need, and so we’ve been working closely with Cymryd Rhan to make alternative arrangements.

“After carrying out a tender process, we’ve appointed two providers: Just One and Compass, who will take over providing care and support to those affected in the coming weeks.

“We’ve written to individuals and families to let them know, and we’ll be speaking to everyone personally to discuss any questions or concerns they might have.

“We would like to thank Cymryd Rhan for their co-operation during this difficult time and for the many years they’ve spent working closely with us to provide support services in Wrexham.”

Mr Evans said: "We were unable to agree a contract uplift with Wrexham Council that would enable Cymryd Rhan to pay its care and support staff the cost of living increase they need. 

“Recent experience has shown us that lower levels of increase in pay undermine our capability to retain and recruit the number and quality of care and support staff to deliver the amount and quality of support for people to have a good life. 

“Up until now, Cymryd Rhan has used its own resources to top up salaries over and above the contract payments made by Wrexham Council, principally from reserves. 

“However our assessment is that reserves will run out in two years if we continue to do this and Cymryd Rhan's trading position would then become untenable and result in collapse."

The charity is now working closely with the council to ensure all affected Cymryd Rhan staff transfer to new commissioned services and provide continuity of care for the affected people to minimise any disruption.

Social care champions Care Forum Wales said it was “shocking but sadly not a surprise” that a charity care provider was being asked to dip into its own pockets to fund statutory services.

It warned Cymryd Rhan’s position was one being repeated across Wales and provided yet more evidence that local authority fees are failing to recognise the true cost of care.

Mr Evans added: “Since April, we have been running the contracts at a loss. We were in a similar position last year and likely to be again next year.

“As responsible trustees, we reached the conclusion we had no other choice but to hand back contracts.

“To continue to incur an annual loss of £102,000 and deliberately choose to shore up the funding of council contracts from our charity reserves would be negligent.

“It has been an absolute privilege being part of these people’s lives. To be in a position where we’re not able to continue is heart-breaking for us but Wrexham Council has placed us behind an emotional barrel – effectively asking a non-profit making charity to subsidise the services we provide on their behalf.

“As an organisation, we don’t invest money in wasteful activities. We don’t have fancy buildings and we don’t have a massive ‘back office’ function with management staff. Ninety-five per cent of our income goes back into the frontline.

“The refusal of the council to fund its statutory responsibilities is not only putting citizens at risk but adding to the problems of staff retention across the sector. If we cannot offer stability, we won’t keep people in the sector.

“There is a need for trustees to protect the charity’s other services and, as hard and heart-wrenching as the decision is, we have been forced to cancel contracts that are putting the organisation at financial risk.”

Mary Wimbury, the chief executive of Care Forum Wales, said: “Regrettably, Cymryd Rhan’s situation is not an isolated case. We have long warned of an unjust postcode lottery of fees with local authorities and health boards, with an ever widening North-South divide which has seen local authorities in North Wales paying irresponsibly low fees.


“Another illustration of the depth of the social care crisis is that Ceredigion Council has been forced to spend an extra £1m in taking over the running of the Hafod y Waun care home in Aberystwyth because it has the statutory responsibility to ensure these vital services exist in the county.

Mr Evans added: “Our relationship with other councils around Wales, particularly in the west and towards the south, is quite different from what we have experienced in North Wales.

“If local authorities are going down this road where they’re going for cheaper alternatives coming from across the border making all sorts of promises of delivering more for less, it’s a very short-term plan which will eventually ‘pop’.”