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Throughout my childhood my Mum, Stephanie (co-Founder of Abbots Care), worked with people with disabilities at a local NHS hospital for people with learning disabilities. We would often visit the hospital as children and take part in fetes and Christmas parties and learnt from a very young age that caring for, supporting and helping people with disabilities was a normal part of our lives. As a child, I thought every family did this!
Mum was always an exceptionally driven in supporting service users and their rights to lead normal lives and when she couldn’t change the way people were treated in these institutions as a Nursing Assistant, she decided to train to be a Registered LD nurse and change things from the top. And she did.
Steph went on to qualify and become a nurse manager and developed innovative services including her last job as a Nurse Manager for a children’s respite service in Watford.
During her time of managing the children’s respite service Mum often wished there were enough staff to offer an ‘at home’ service as an alternative, to give parents and siblings respite care without taking the child from their home. At the time home care as we know it now wasn’t offered by councils or the NHS.
Steph left the NHS after having my younger brother and sister and worked part time for care agencies.
At the same time, I was working for a national recruitment company as a Health and Social Care consultant, and my sister Naomi as a care worker for another agency. We were all a bit fed up with the way the agencies we worked for were run. No training was offered, and no one appeared to know who was experienced enough to do what and it was always a drive for money over quality. Steph and Naomi approached Hertfordshire County Council to ask if they could provide domiciliary care work by booking them directly. They told them that they could, but that we would have to apply to become an approved agency and meet their compliance standards. They applied, were successful and I joined them within a few weeks.
So, with no funding, no planning and nothing but the love of the work, we started Abbots Care.
With no capital behind us we were our own care workers and unpaid managers while we set the work up and recruited. We worked running the agency from our own spare bedrooms using a very large 1990’s mobile phone! We lived in and around Abbots Langley, so we became Abbots Care. We held a car boot sale to raise money to buy equipment such as an answerphone.
Our first customers were the NHS via continuing care. Our first employees were friends and colleagues. We tapped into the vast army of people who were interested in this work and trained them ourselves.
Times have changed and so have our circumstances. Naomi left the company in 2012 to pursue her earlier dream of becoming a nurse and mum is now semi-retired (we can’t let her go completely as she has so much experience and knowledge to give us!)
From our very humble beginnings I now find myself the Managing Director of Abbots Care and we now support almost 1000 customers and employ 500 care workers.
We are never complacent or stop trying to improve our service. I can honestly say that from 1995 until today, we at Abbots Care Ltd. have put our service users in charge of their own choices, worked to further educate and qualify ourselves and our employees, and sincerely care about the people who we have a responsibility to, and we always will.
Whether you are an employee or a service user, thank you for choosing us.
Managing Director and Co-Founder of Abbots Care