Leading Scottish home care business set for further growth

One of the leading providers of home care in Scotland is set for further growth thanks to a refinancing package involving three ethical lenders. Loans from Co-operative & Community Finance, The Co-operative Loan Fund and Big Issue Invest have given Highland Home Carers, an employee-owned business with nearly 250 staff, the capacity and incentive to win more contracts across the Scottish Highlands.

Highland Home Carers provides care and support for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people to allow them to remain in their own homes and retain their independence. Its commitment to excellence has been recognised by several awards in recent years. In 2011 it picked up two awards at the Scottish Care National Awards and it also won the Global Energy Award for Excellence in People Development leading the Scottish Social Services Council to comment: “Highland Home Carers are at the cutting edge of the changing face of social care – taking it away from institutions and placing it firmly in the communities where clients want to remain.”

Highland Home Carers started in 1994 and in 2004 became an employee-owned business, with advice and financial assistance from the Baxi Partnership Trust. In the last two years staffing has increased by over 50% and turnover has topped £3m.

Managing Director Stephen Pennington said: “The new loans have allowed us to repay Baxi. We are a much bigger business than we were eight years ago, and also interest rates have gone down. It made sense for us to restructure our finances and we’ll be much stronger for future growth.”

Highland Home Carers remains fully committed to the principle of employee ownership and Stephen Pennington would like to see more employee-owned care businesses in Scotland. He said: “We believe that if staff have an investment in what they are doing, they are more likely to want to do it to the best of their ability. Our view is that employee ownership can improve staff recruitment and retention rates in a field in which these figures can be poor.”

Our loan adviser Ian Taylor said: “The sympathetic lending from our funds, the Co-operative Loan Fund and Big Issue Invest has enabled this employee-owned business to restructure its finances when other lenders had been unwilling to help. The new finance package better suits Highland Home Carers’ plans for growth and development, allowing them to tender for new contracts with confidence.”

He added: “I was impressed by the obvious commitment they have to providing the highest quality services. Highland Home Carers has become the first choice provider for local authorities in the Highlands. They are brand leaders outperforming the large private companies.”

For more information visit: highland-home-carers.co.uk