Manager appointed for newly reopened Alastrean House

Fiona Duncan, Home Manager

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Balhousie Care Group has appointed Fiona Duncan as manager for the newly reopened Alastrean House in Aboyne, which is re-opening following a £160,000 refurbishment.

As well as readying the luxurious new home for residents, Fiona has been recruiting staff and overseeing an intensive, month-long training programme which stretches from hospitality and customer service to dementia training.

Fiona, 40, who grew up nearby in the Aberdeenshire village of Keig, describes herself as a “born carer”. In her teens she would run creches during school parents’ evenings, looking after the children. After she left school she worked her way up through the ranks in independent care homes.

Now with 24 years’ care sector experience under her belt, Fiona said she was “I adore working in care, it’s so rewarding so I’m excited and a little bit awe-struck” about re-opening a historic property which is beloved by locals and the wider community. “I just turned 40 and I’m at that point in my life where I’m ready for a new challenge. And this is the best sort of challenge someone in my position could get,” she said.

Situated in the beautiful and tranquil countryside of Tarland, Alastrean House was extensively damaged in a fire in January 2016. All 38 residents and seven staff members were evacuated swiftly without injury, as the fire spread internally through the flue to the roof space, causing damage to the walls and roof.

Alastrean House, a former retreat for Royal Air Force veterans, is owned by The MacRobert Trust and operated by Balhousie Care Group. The new care home sets a gold standard of accommodation, said Fiona.

She commented:

“I’m hugely excited to be heading up this stellar care home. How often in this sector do you not only get the opportunity to create a home from scratch, but to do it in such an impressive building as Alastrean House? Balhousie Care Group really work hard to deliver great quality care, something I believe strongly about, now they have a phenomenal environment where I can work with my team to deliver excellence in care. We’ve all been awe-struck by the building, the grounds and its history and we’ve recruited a team of inspiring, caring and passionate people who will make sure this care home lives up to the building’s heritage. We’re creating a home from home here, a place that’s comfortable both for residents and for their families.

Fiona added: “Alastrean House and its surrounding estate are such an important part of the local landscape and community. That’s why we plan to have an open day on November 1st, when locals can see for themselves all the work that’s been going on.”

Alastrean House continues to be owned and maintained by The MacRobert Trust and serves as a memorial to the three MacRobert sons, who tragically all died young.

An Open Day is being held at the home on Wednesday 1st November 2017 between 11am and 2pm for visitors to view the restoration.