A North Somerset-based Home Support Agency, which has created a range of flexible, responsive and individualised services to help people remain independent in their homes, is celebrating a successful five years in business and expansion of its team.
Clevedon-based Access Your Care was launched in summer 2011 by Zak Aravantinos, whose passion for looking after older people was inspired by his mother who worked in a care home and would often take her family with her to spend time with residents.
Zak sought the advice of North Somerset Enterprise Agency at the time of business start-up and since then has benefitted from the agency’s mentoring, seminars and training and the network of contacts and support it has available.
Five years on, Access Your Care works with over 4000 individuals across the local region. Last year the company provided over 35,000 care and response related hours – and is anticipating growth to over 55,000 hours in the coming 12 months.
In the last month Zak’s mother Wendy has joined the company as a Service Manager, as one of several new operational staff appointments.
Originally planning a career in forensic accountancy, Zak’s life changed direction when he chose his dissertation to be on the subject of “Management of change in the care sector”. His research included examining the Government’s “Personalisation Agenda”, which specifies that the sector should offer care which is about choice, control and tailoring services to individuals.
With a wealth of ideas, Zak set out, after leaving Cheltenham University, to create a dynamic and innovative Home Support Agency that would shake up traditional care sector services.
Access Your Care set out to provide three distinct core services – SupermarketClick, which enables people to select their shopping from their own homes with the help of a friendly support worker who brings their own laptop and internet connection; Response24, a 24 hour response service to personal monitored alarm and Telecare systems, which ensures that if someone should have a fall or care emergency, one of the Response24 team will respond promptly, giving individuals and their family members peace of mind; and The Carehub which offers a whole range of services – shopping, laundry, handyman and cleaning – to support people with their every domestic need.
Unusually within the care sector, Response24 also includes Falls Assistance, a service which works alongside local nursing and ambulance teams to provide falls assistance and prevention. It ensures that people who have suffered a fall are supported to stand and that one of its team will be there to assist within the hour.
Alongside Access Your Care’s growth, in 2015 Zak launched an additional company KeysafeMan, in response to a need for external care, nursing agencies and other emergency services to access homes to provide the relevant assistance required. It now provides the largest range of supplied and fitted keysafes in the UK including the first and only police-approved keysafe and has already fitted 3500 keysafes across North Somerset, Somerset, Bristol and Bath.
Most recently, this summer Access Your Care launched planned overnight care visits for self-funding individuals. It allows for scheduled visits between the hours of 10pm and 7am by a four-strong team and is ideal to support people who may need confidence building back to independence following a discharge from hospital, support with toileting needs or patients who are nearing the end of their lives and who wish to die at home. This innovative approach to overnight care also offers in the region of a 40 per cent saving against traditional overnight care services.
With staff numbers, turnover and services having at least doubled each year to date, Zak is now looking to the future.
“Creating Access Your Care and its associated services was about creating a dependable, forward-thinking and innovative business – and the care we deliver being tailored around the people who rely on it – and I am proud that we have been able to deliver on this ambition.” says Zak.
“I am hugely fortunate to have a fantastic team of people supporting our vision, with every member of our staff being passionately committed to helping people to remain independent in their homes for longer.
“I am also incredibly grateful to North Somerset Enterprise Agency for its help across the years. Not only did its team provide much-needed advice and practical support when I started out but has since remained alongside to help us keep on track whenever needed. I would recommend them to anyone who has a business idea they want to get off the ground.”
Zak continues: “We are now proud to be making a difference to the lives of so many people in our region, who are benefitting from being able to make their own choices about their own care services and to have those services delivered in a way that suits them and helps their wellbeing. Our aim now is to build on that success and to continue to innovate and expand our catchment area across the South West, thus further improving the lives of those we serve in the wider community.”
Angela Hicks, Chief Executive of North Somerset Enterprise Agency says:
“It is rewarding to see such an exciting local business, under the guidance of a focused and committed business individual, going from strength to strength. We are thrilled to have played our part in the company’s success to date and always welcome hearing from anyone who needs business support and advice, which is offered by our locally-based team free of charge or at low cost.”
More information on Access Your Care can be found at www.accessyourcare.co.uk or by calling 01275 874861