Visiting Angels doubles UK network
During lockdown, the demand for care that is safe and conforms to government regulations has been thrust into the spotlight. It’s no surprise then that Visiting Angels has continued to expand in the UK – their services recognised as essential the world over during this pandemic. Doubling its size in May, eight new faces joined the UK network, ready to assist their local communities with quality care at home.
Amongst them is husband and wife team, Chris and Lynn James. Lynn is no stranger to the care industry; she was a nurse from the age of 19, played an integral part in the development of the Alzheimer’s Society for 15 years and, most recently, has been a general manager in homecare. With a clear passion for care, she considered launching her own business and started searching for the perfect opportunity. On discovering Visiting Angels, she really connected with their carer-centric approach. Simply put, the company places carers at the heart of the business to promote a better work environment and allows them to thrive which, in turn, gives them the opportunity to deliver better care.
“My previous roles made it clear that people have very different needs and a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work. Caregivers are truly unsung heroes who need to be allowed to care – not just perform tasks. By paying a reasonable wage, offering rewards for loyal commitment, and allowing for longer, more efficient care visits, the carers at Visiting Angels feel more valued and enjoy delivering quality care. After many years, I am now in position to help provide a catalyst for change through our business in North Surrey,” said Lynn.
This approach also struck a chord with Paul Brooks, launching his franchise in Northamptonshire, after he witnessed the extent to which the industry was stretched.
“Over the course of four weeks, my mother was seen by 10 different carers – it just didn’t sit well with me or her. I had just gone through redundancy and, whilst looking for something new, I considered a care company to tackle standards of social care in my community. When I found Visiting Angels, their mission was a true reflection of what I hoped to achieve.”
The eight new franchisees covering four locations across the UK attended training in mid-May. Social distancing measures meant the franchisee training relied on experts delivering the content via online video conferencing. Ian Lintott, who is launching his business in Cambridgeshire with his wife Nicola, is used to this way of learning.
“I worked in a global organisation for 25 years,” Ian said, “So I‘d become accustomed to the majority of my working life being via digital platforms. Technology is changing the way we work and the fact that the training was adapted and delivered so well, in such a short time, was admirable to say the least. I didn’t feel like we missed out on the face-to-face interaction.”
Fresh from training, the four offices have been busy getting themselves ready to launch, employing teams and finalising their registrations with the Care Quality Commission. Andrew and Helen Lofts, leading a forward team, are launching in East Staffordshire and are looking forward to making a difference in their local area.
“I’m excited about everything when it comes to growing my new business but the impact that I know it will have on my community is top of the list for me. I’m passionate about raising standards of care and I believe we can do that by giving our carers the opportunity to be the best they can be. Visiting Angels isn’t just a business, it’s a chance to give back.”
With nine franchise territories in the UK, Visiting Angels is proving its potential for growth and all are keen to follow in the footsteps of the pilot franchise in Sheffield, which recently reached £1million turnover. For some, 2020 has been a challenge but, for Visiting Angels, their essential service has allowed this forward-thinking care franchise to spread its wings.