Home Instead

Having launched Home Instead Portsmouth at the start of 2021, Helen Brown and her team have delivered high quality home care services to older people across the local community as well as creating jobs for caring individuals.

Not only this, Helen has embraced the marketing and PR support provided by Home Instead’s National Office, helping her to amplify her efforts, increase her reach and engage with local businesses and organisations to support even more people across Portsmouth. 

Home Instead Portmouth

Helen launched her business already holding extensive experience in home care having previously been instrumental in establishing and developing two Home Instead offices, one of which is in neighbouring Havant. Both achieved an Outstanding rating, the highest accolade achievable from the Care Quality Commission (CQC); this was something she was determined to replicate in Portsmouth as at the time it was the area with the highest level of inadequate care in the country.

In her previous career as a primary school teacher, Helen had supported her young pupils to achieve their hopes, dreams and aspirations. Now running a Home Instead office, much of her passion lies in making Portsmouth dementia friendly. To do this effectively, embracing the marketing campaigns and PR initiatives provided as part of the Home Instead franchise model, would help accelerate her message across the city.

A recent example of this is Home Instead’s Key to Care campaign, which saw owners host sessions for local residents on topics such as dementia, including offering advice and guidance for people caring for a loved one with dementia, and techniques to manage the condition in the home. 

By embracing this campaign, Helen was able to engage with a number of local organisations, build strong relationships, create awareness of the Home Instead brand and amplify their position as the UK’s number one home care company, but at a local level.

Working alongside Boots, Spark Community Space, Lighthouse Group, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth Carers Centre and The You Trust, has helped Helen to fully engrain herself and her franchise into her local community, as well as receiving coverage in local media such as The Portsmouth News.

It also saw her invited to hold dementia training sessions at Portsmouth FC. The latest in a series of initiatives across the city, Helen identified an opportunity to help raise awareness amongst the club’s departments, including the office, hospitality, ground staff and the shop, to make match days a positive experience for everyone, including those with dementia.

This campaign also received some positive local PR with a double page feature in the Portsmouth News, a matchday dedication on World Mental Health Day and an article on the football club’s website.

The home care company’s positive approach to embracing marketing and PR and their dementia work across the city has not gone unnoticed, having recently been awarded the Innovation Award, nominated for The Impact Award at the forthcoming Dembe Awards, as well as Helen being awarded Woman Entrepreneur 2023. 

Helen commented: “Getting involved in the marketing campaigns and utilising the PR support provided by Home Instead’s National Office is crucial. It not only allows us to amplify our message on a local level, but also contributes to a ‘national noise’ alongside the rest of the franchise network across the country, helping with networking and raising awareness of the support we provide, strengthening our messaging and ultimately helping us to support more people who need us”.

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According to the National Statistics, by 2024, 21.7% of the population in the North East will be over the age of 65, compared to 18% in 2014, this demonstrates a strong growth of clients in the area and in new Home Instead territories.

Gavin Morrigan and Michelle Fairless, the owners of Home Instead Cleveland have grown a strong Home Instead presence in the North East, with a positive reputation across the area.

Gavin Morrigan and Michelle Fairless

Following redundancy and finding ourselves at a crossroads with what to do next in life, we were exploring a number of different options, though having both been made redundant on a couple of occasions previously, working for someone else in an HR environment or setting up a HR Consultancy or finance related business was not appealing.

We thought about franchising but knew little about it and so, by chance, we heard there was a franchising exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham so decided to attend. We heard a speaker from another Home Instead office giving an overview and answering FAQs on a general panel of franchise representatives and the Home Instead representative struck a chord with both of us, leading us to visit the Home Instead exhibition stand to find out more.

The business model seemed to make perfect sense and coupled with Michelle’s passion for elderly care following her own life experiences, we wanted to find out more, once we did, we never looked back.

By April we had set up our Ltd company, by May we were on New Owner Training and by June we had opened our doors, less than 4 months from knowing anything about franchising least of all, Home Instead.

With positive support from National Office, we networked and developed new ways of broadening our name and reputation in the community receiving more and more recommendations.

One highlight was discovering the National Office Fraud Public Education Programme as we felt this was a unique way to ‘give’ to the many groups and communities across our territory something that would benefit everyone, but particularly aimed at older and vulnerable groups, whilst helping to showcase our company and reach many more people.

We approached our Local Police and Crime Commissioner with a bid to promote a large number of fraud presentations across the Cleveland Police Force area, soon becoming experts in scams and frauds. From this, our exposure snowballed in many communities as we continued to follow the model and build upon our growing reputation as being the best care company.

We have continued to take advantage of the fantastic support and initiatives provided by Home Instead’s National Office as we look to continue our growth and provide outstanding levels of care.

Joining Home Instead was absolutely the right decision for us and the only time we look back is to see how far we’ve come.

Fiona Harrall started her Home Instead franchise in March 2010. She is married with 2 children and her previous career was as a Chartered Surveyor. She came to a stage in her life when she really didn’t enjoy the pressure and the long hours, she wanted a new way of life. Running a franchise business seemed the perfect opportunity, particularly in the care sector which is notoriously difficult to set up from scratch due to legislation, etc. Fiona wanted the back up and the continued support which a Home Instead franchise provides.

case study home instead senior care fiona

We had been touched by relatives who needed care services due to dementia, at that time my husband’s Aunt and Uncle would have loved to stay at home with support, but they were only offered residential care and sadly ended up in separate care homes. As no other options for care was then available in my area, I wanted to change things, I wanted to make sure that I could give back to my community and provide fantastic care as it should be, allowing older people with help, to remain in their own homes.

It appears that this is exactly what people are looking for, the majority of new clients come from recommendations from existing clients or care professionals who see the standard of care we provide.

From the end of Yr 1 to Yr 2 we have seen our turnover increase by 550% and in Yr 3 by 71%. We have expanded our original premises from one small office to four offices which has allowed us to increase our team and to add additional training and meeting rooms.

Due to our phenomenal growth my husband has now joined me in the business giving up his job in the City. We are not only passionate about the care we provide, but about the caregivers and office team who provide the care. We doubled our team in 2012 and we are looking to recruit over 100 people in 2013.

We are proud to say that in 2012 our Registered Care Manager won the Great British Care Awards, Registered Care Manager and Hertfordshire Care Providers Association Registered Care Manager award.

I have also encouraged four of my friends to become franchisees with Home Instead, I have enjoyed it so much and found it so rewarding on so many levels, and I haven’t even expanded yet into the Southern part of my territory , all part of this year’s business plan.

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I am a qualified accountant and prior to joining Home Instead I worked in the finance sector in project management and latterly ran my own business. I was initially attracted to franchise as I really liked the idea of an established business model and the economies of scale which an international network such as Home Instead can bring.

In my research before setting up the business, I looked at a number of different sectors and care really stood out because it is something I feel is so important.  I feel immense pride in helping older people receive the quality services they need, as so often, much of the existing care provision is not always meeting these needs. Added to this the care sector is a growing market as our population is ageing, so there will be lots of opportunities to develop the busines.

home instead senior care case study

As soon as I met the national office team I was impressed, their professionalism and friendly attitude set them apart.

They have an established network of offices which I was invited to contact to get an impression of what it is like, without exception they all genuinely care from national office to each individual office.

Without doubt it has been fantastic, it is hard work but you have a really good balance of national office supporting us and letting us find our way.  

As a franchise we don’t  feel alone but you still learn plenty of lessons and things we may do differently in the future, but that’s life!! The system is different in Scotland to the rest of the UK so we need to ensure that we clearly explain just where and how our services fit in.

We are getting more brand recognition with a growing reputation for providing a high quality service to our clients. We have more and more people asking for our services and more and more caregivers wanting to work with us, which all bodes well for the future.  Of course our success will mean that hopefully we can soon enjoy a holiday in the sun!

When high flying business woman and mother of two, Anitra Camargo was diagnosed with secondary cancer in 2010, naturally she was devastated. However, just over a year later in 2011, she opened a new Home Instead franchise business based in Egham, covering the area of Windsor and Runnymede.

Since then life has been a whirlwind of treatment (all successful thank goodness) and she had to make major changes to ensure that she could live the life she wanted, now and in the future.

She says that it was her experience that led her to meet some amazing people who have changed her life for the better and who inspired her to want to give back. Setting up her own franchise business has been part of a truly life changing period of her life. 

Home Instead Senior Care Case Study

She explains: ‘Even back in the UK life was hectic, I was travelling twice a week looking after accounts in Europe. When I first suspected I was ill, I dismissed it as a low priority because I was too busy.  Looking back, I suppose you think it’s not going to happen to you.

Anitra is the owner of Home Instead which provides at-home care services for older people so they can remain living in their own homes.

She previously worked for a London software company which relocated her to New York to take on the demanding role of Vice President.  She was in New York during 9/11, which motivated her to move back home to the UK, only to be in London during the 7/7 attacks here.

‘Having experienced the treatment and care that I had been given, I was and still am totally in awe of the fantastic nurses and carers that looked after me.  The work that they do for others totally inspired me to live a new life and dedicate myself to helping others.

Through my Home Instead franchise venture I have been able to use my knowledge and business experience to do what really matters in life, which is ensuring good quality care is available for people when they need it, whilst building a really successful franchise business.’

Home Instead provides a service tailored to the needs of individual clients and ranges from companionship, personal care and home help.

Anitra continues: ‘You do see a lot of bad press about the care sector and my family has had personal experience of care services that are very poor. I knew that I wanted to change this and when I discovered Home Instead, I could see that their vision and my personal vision matched, this was how care should be delivered.

For Home Instead to be a franchise was perfect as it enabled me to be up and running relatively quickly. I knew I would receive a great deal of support which is on-going and reassuring and of course it is a tried and tested business model that works!’

Away from the office Anitra is a keen theatre goer, her favourite being Shakespeare. She also enjoys walking and keeping fit.

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6.00am I am woken up by at least 1 of my 3 children. If I’m lucky they’ll entertain themselves for half an hour or so while I grab a few extra minutes of precious sleep! The last job before leaving home is to go with my daughter to feed our 6 chickens – Penny, Lavender, Violet, Didi, Rocket and Eggy (I had no choice in the names).

Home instead senior care case study

8.00am We set off for school and nursery. I drop my 6 year old and 4 year old at school for around 8.20am and then my 18 month old daughter at nursery for 8.45am.

9.00am My office is just around the corner from the nursery so I arrive in time for our 9am morning meeting when we gather to discuss any matters that have developed in the last 24 hours.

With a rapidly ageing population ours is a fast-moving business.

Because we offer a quality, person centred service, our new clients often have urgent and complex needs requiring large care packages and it is essential that I manage our staffing levels and scheduling of care so that we keep pace with demand.

9.45am Once I have checked for any urgent emails I will usually leave the office and go out to meet clients and potential referrers of clients.

Our business is driven by relationships and the nature of our service means that it is vital to take a personal interest in clients and employees alike.

In fact, that is one of the primary reasons I left the banking and finance sector to set up a Home Instead franchise.

11.00am We are part of an international franchise family and, as such, have access to many resources that really differentiate our service offering. Home Instead is currently launching a new dementia training programme which is being rolled out nationally.

In York we are taking part in the initiative which sees our caregivers receive specialist training which is City & Guilds accredited and allows them to manage our many clients with dementia. This morning I am meeting with our care manager to discuss how the training is going and discuss which of our caregivers will be taking part in phase two.

12.30pm On the way back to the office I will grab some lunch. If we are running an in-house training session I’ll grab some doughnuts for the new recruits and then spend half an hour chatting to them. I aim to establish an open communication with employees from the outset.

Caregivers can sometimes find the work quite lonely. Knowing they can talk to any of my team about uncertainties or just to share is an important part of the organisational culture here.

1.30pm I meet up with my care manager at least once a week and we talk in more detail about any of the issues raised in the morning meeting. We run a very comprehensive programme of quality assurance and I review client feedback from the last week. 

2.30pm I make an effort for around 90 minutes each day to commit some time to planning and developing the business. I will schedule a call with my Business Planning Manager from national office, Nathan Sherwood, once a week, to discuss KPIs and review the forward plan. We also discuss revenue levels and how we will attract and retain the best people. It’s the old adage of working “on” the business rather than always “in” the business.

4.00pm I spend the latter part of the day responding to emails and messages that have arrived over the course of the day. We operate a “sundown policy” in our office (a Walmart invention) which means that all calls and emails need to be returned before the end of the day – even if it is just to acknowledge the communication.

Whenever I am making decisions about how we treat staff and customers I apply the principle of “would I want it this way”. Unanswered emails or replies that arrive 10 days later are one of my pet hates, so I do my best to stick to the sundown policy.

5.00pm If we don’t have a team meeting or a social event for our caregivers I’ll aim to be home by 6pm to spend some time with the children before bath and bedtime. By this time I’m ready for bed, but my wife and I like to cook dinner together and share a bottle of wine while watching a movie. 

Mark Darnell, who co-owns the Home Instead franchise in East Northants has shown both Ray Warburton and Gail Devereux-Batchelor “the way to care” by introducing them to a Home Instead Senior Care franchise.

Having known Gail in his previous career with Dr. Martens Footwear Group, and having signed superstar footballer Ray Warburton for Rushden and Diamonds, Mark is thrilled that both of his friends now own neighbouring franchise territories of the at-home care company, Home Instead.

Having worked as a main Board Director at Dr. Martens for several years, Mark effectively hired Gail Devereux-Batchelor as the Director of the ladies shoes division of the company. Mark takes up the story, “I had a great working relationship with Gail, and as we had children of a similar age we soon grew to be good friends.

When I started Home Instead in East Northants, I had kept in contact with Gail and naturally told her all about my new business endeavour and the high-quality care I was proud to be able to deliver. Gail was very keen on hearing more about Home Instead, and I found out why, when she opened the Market Harborough office of the company!” 

Home instead senior care

Dr. Martens sponsored Rushden and Diamonds and Mark eventually made the transition to become MD of the Club. Mark played a pivotal role negotiating with both club and player when the decision was taken to sign local football star, Ray Warburton from Northampton Town.

Although the pair had not kept in particularly close contact since leaving the club, when Ray was deciding upon his next business move and learnt that Mark owned a local at-home care company, he was quick to call him up and find out more as he had previously researched the business prior to Mark’s involvement.

Mark said, “Ray and I had a great chat and I obviously told him how rewarding I find it, being able to provide such a high quality of at-home care for older people and run a lucrative business.

Ray, like Gail was keen to learn more and I hope that knowing someone who had been there before did help him to make the decision to start building the Northampton office of Home Instead.”

Mark continues, “I am thrilled to think that I have played a part in two of my friends discovering and launching their own local offices of Home Instead. The ethos of the company is all about changing the face of ageing and making a real difference to the lives of older people, and if I can help to spread this high-quality service then I feel that that is a job well done!”

He concludes: “The three of us meet up fairly regularly at local owner’s meetings and it is great to be able to work with them both again. It is great to have friends in a similar situation too as we can also compare notes on what is going on in our own local area and obviously help each other out along the way.”

Home Instead is a management franchise with territories available across the UK. Each Home Instead franchise owner operates within an exclusive geographic territory which allows them to create a large business, generating considerable revenues.

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