Continued Care, with bases on Hornbeam Park in Harrogate and the High Street in Settle, has been named among the top seven per cent of accredited companies in the UK by the organisation which recognises businesses which value their staff. The award comes in the same year the family-run business celebrates its 21st birthday.
Director Samantha Harrison said: “The care sector often comes in for criticism and it can be very demoralising for those great carers who quietly get on with their jobs and make life so much easier for the people they are helping.
“It’s fantastic to be able to say publicly what a wonderful job our staff do and to have it recognised by such a prestigious organisation. We have won several awards in the care industry over the last few years, and this recognition from Investors In People really is the icing on the cake for us.”
Continued Care joins an elite group of just nine organisations in North Yorkshire to hold the IIP gold award, of which it is the only care provider. Nationally, there are only around 1,000 organisations with the gold award – just seven per cent of all IIP-accredited organisations.
Ms Harrison said: “We have had Investors In People accreditation for some time, but I felt we were working above the level that was required so at our last inspection we were assessed for a higher level award.
“The inspector spent two full days speaking to lots of our staff in private and finding out their views on how we operate, and the opportunities we offer. I had no idea what they were saying, so I just had to wait for the outcome of the inspection.
“We could have been told we had failed to reach a higher standard, or be awarded silver or bronze standard – so when the inspector said we had more than met the standards needed for gold, I was really emotional and proud of our team. I went straight out and bought a hundred huge boxes of chocolates for everyone!”
In his report, inspector Roger Bradshaw said: “There is a very strong team ethic in Continued Care.
“Although people described how they often spend considerable time working independently, the consensus view is that Continued Care operates as a team and the culture is such that people are always prepared to give up time to help colleagues or become involved in team problem solving.”
He added: “The business is passionately and dynamically led. This is a significant strength of the business and a lot of energy and direction comes from the director. It is clear that this style and approach does have a direct influence on the behaviours, style and energy levels of other managers and staff.”
Speaking about the award, Paul Devoy, head of Investors in People, said: “We’d like to congratulate Continued Care on their Gold standard.
“Such a high level of accreditation is the sign of great people management practice, and demonstrates a commitment to staff development and shows an organisation committed to being the very best it can be. Continued Care should be extremely proud of their achievement.”
With around 70 staff based at the Harrogate headquarters, plus 30 working from a second office in Settle, Continued Care has grown steadily since it was formed in 1993 and now supports more than 250 clients. Ms Harrison runs the company alongside her mother, Christine Mitchell, who is also a director, and her aunt Helen Walker, an associate director.
Although the number of employees has increased, turnover is very low, and some staff have even brought their friends and relatives to work for the company. Equally, there are many loyal clients who have used Continued Care for seven or eight years, enabling them to stay in their own homes for much longer than would have been possible without the carers’ support.
The company also shows its commitment to employees and the community in other ways. On July 20, carers Maddie Cokell and Kayleigh Brown took part in the Race For Life, raising more than £200 for charity. Ms Harrison has matched their fundraising to bring the total to more than £400.
Ms Harrison said: “We want the company to be a pleasant place to work for everyone, as well as ensuring our staff are respectful of our clients, well trained, and have the qualifications they need to underpin their knowledge and experience.
“This gold award is a public recognition of everything we stand for and particularly for the wonderful work our team members do every day. We couldn’t have achieved this without them.”