Despite the national shortage of carers, domiciliary care provider Care With Kindness has bucked the trend and has managed to grow its team since it was founded two years ago.
It’s one of a number of businesses based at Devon Business & Education Centre near Payhembury in East Devon, which have set up and flourished as a direct result of the opening of the coworking space.
Care With Kindness set up with an original team of four, but it now employs 12 carers. While the majority of their time is spent on care visits, they also benefit from the facilities available at the Centre.
Sarah Carter, Registered Manager of Care With Kindness, says:
“Care With Kindness was born from the idea that there was a lack of consistency in good quality care in rural Devon. We wanted to create a care business that was about providing high quality care and not rushing from one door to the next.
We’ve found ourselves attracting a team of really good people who are focused on providing high quality care for people in the community.
Having the space available to us at Devon Business & Education Centre means that not only do we have a base, we have somewhere we can hold meetings and training days.
It’s a nice place for people to come together and it has a wonderful training space which is important with care work, especially as training is a critical part of providing great care. Face to face training really helps to embed some of the difficult things we have to learn, such as end of life care, and how to move a client correctly. We have the space and the facilities to be able to do that.
We cover a huge geographical area and journeys between care visits can be long, so you need dedicated staff who don’t mind going the extra mile.
We’re fortunate with the people we’ve found on our doorstep and we’re determined to keep looking for the right carers with the right qualities; empathy, compassion, kindness and concern for the ageing population in Devon.”
Devon Business & Education Centre has been part of the Devon Work Hubs network since December 2017.
It was opened earlier that year by business consultant Chris Lorimer and his wife Mary, who owned a tutoring company, after they replaced a dilapidated barn on their property with a modern, bright and energy-efficient business space. Initially they were looking to provide themselves with a space for their own business interests, but instead they created something that is so much more.
The passivhaus design and green roof of the centre ensures the building is highly sustainable and has a low ecological footprint.
Chris Lorimer, Owner of Devon Business & Education Centre, says: “We created this fantastic space which is beautiful to work in. It’s a light, quiet and relaxing space.
We knew from the market research we had done there was a need for this kind of space, but you never quite know what’s going to be required by people. We’re well located between Cullompton, Ottery St Mary and Honiton, and we have found that it’s a great place for anyone looking for a day away from the office, Board meetings and training days.
It’s been so popular we know we’ve hit on something which people really enjoy – they often rebook as soon as they can.
We want people to come here but we appreciate that we’re in a rural area and the world is facing climate emergency challenges, so our environmental credentials are important. That’s why the building is passivhaus. There’s electric vehicle charging as well and we’re strong on recycling.
The way people work now, they need to have a range of options of where to work and centres like ours are invaluable in providing a space with good broadband connectivity to allow people to do their work. Whether it’s online or face to face we’re providing an environment that’s very flexible and yet ultimately it’s a beautiful space that makes people feel happy and productive. We’d like to think that in a small way we’re helping them.
If I was to sum up the centre it would be open spaces for open minds. It allows people to get on with their work in a fantastic and refreshing environment.”
The centre is proving to be integral to the growth of a number of businesses.
“We’ve got a wide range of people who use the centre,” Chris continues. “Everyone from self-employed freelancers, people who want to hotdesk, those who just need a space for a day, businesses who come here for training or away days, and companies who use the space to grow their own business. A number of businesses have set up as a result of this place, such as Care With Kindness.
Due to having access to this amazing space, we’ve also been able to set up a charity, called Devon Business & Education Trust which supports people across East and Mid-Devon who are socially isolated. So for instance, its also a warm hub for local elderly people to spend time together, a safe space for young people needing educational support and a resource base for people looking to get back into the job market.
We’re so pleased this space has created opportunities for businesses and individuals to flourish and it gives us great pleasure to see it working.”
It certainly seems to be working for Care With Kindness and the location is key to that, according to Sarah.
She says: “It really feels like a unique workspace and I always enjoy coming to work here because not only is it a wonderful space but we have beautiful countryside all around us.
It’s quite a bustling centre with lots of people coming and going which reminds me every day of my professional context and why I’m here. The person in the office next door does something completely different but that makes it quite an exciting place to work.
I feel we belong here; this is our home and we’d like to grow from here.”
"A fabulously stylish space which smacks of contemporary creative muses, coupled with all the comforts an office should have - coffee, tea, fridge, WiFi and a working printer. Its a warm, light space in a delightful part of the village with plenty of space in the car parks and very easy to travel to."