THE opening of a Newtownards care home, set to provide over 110 local jobs, has been delayed after vandals smashed 30 windows.

The Peninsula, a new state-of-the-art £10m nursing home located in the Castlebawn area of Newtownards, had been due to open its doors in January.

However, recent vandalism at the site of the new home has pushed back the official opening of the care home to February.

The nursing home is set to create one of the largest employment opportunities in Newtownards, providing a range of nursing, residential, respite, and dementia care to 80 residents and creating over 110 jobs.

Ryan Smith, Chief Executive of Dunluce Healthcare, said he was disappointed the care home now faced delays due to the vandalism, noting that the care home is close to completion.

“This has certainly delayed the completion of the building by probably about a month,” he said.

“We are ultimately going to be employing 110 local people in Newtownards and we have started that recruitment process already and things are going very well but it is a shame that this kind of vandalism has ultimately delayed things.

“But nevertheless, we are a North Down company and we are committed to building what will be the best care home in the country in Newtownards and we look forward to it opening.”

Speaking about the ongoing recruitment drive, Mr Smith, who hails from Newtownards, said the company was ‘pleased to be creating vital employment opportunities to those living in Newtownards and the surrounding areas’.

“The recruitment process has started and it will largely be local people working in the home,” Mr Smith said.

“We have had numerous applicants from the local areas and so it is going to be a major employer in Newtownards.”

“We are currently recruiting for 110 jobs across a variety of care home roles including nursing, managerial positions, activities coordinators, administrative staff, kitchen staff and maintenance personnel,” he noted.

Strangford MP Jim Shannon described the vandalism at the new care home site as ‘extremely disheartening’ and urged local people to support the new home, noting how it would help grow the local economy.

The DUP MP said: “Upon meeting with Mike and Ryan Smith of Dunluce Care earlier this year and hearing of their plans for the care home, I am extremely saddened and disappointed to hear of this incomprehensible vandalism.

“This care home will house 80 residents and employ 110 staff, which is a fantastic contribution to the local economy supporting jobs and making a home for those seeking care home placement.”

He continued: “There is already a waiting list of local people wanting their loved one to enjoy their retirement with the special care that is available at The Peninsula and it is just ridiculous that this opening may be delayed further due to the recklessness of some individuals.

“I thank Ryan, Mike and all those who are making the building of this care home possible and urge local people to support the installation of the care home as opposed to delaying its completion.