My name is Suzanne and I am 33 years old. I am a single mother of 2 children, both under the age of 8 years old. I am also the Director of Apollo Care South Wirral which opened in September 2013. I have over 10 years’ experience in the care industry, gained from many years of caring in the community and nurse training, specialising in the care of adults with physical and learning disabilities. I am passionate about providing our service users with a high standard of care, advocacy and companionship! My story began three and a half years ago when my relationship came to a sudden end and I found myself on my own, with 2 children under the age of 4 and a mortgage to repay. I was trying to find work that would fit around the children and give me enough income to afford to stay in my house.
My friend Cheryl had invited me out for a play day with our boys, we were chatting generally when the subject of my relationship came up, I was upset and said I was unsure what sort of job I could find. Cheryl immediately said that I should come and work for her as a carer for her community caring business. I already had experience in this role, and I was made up and began working within a few weeks of the meeting.
As the months went on and I began to really love my role, Cheryl began to disclose her business ideas and plans. A few more months went by and Cheryl informed me that she was in the process of franchising her business and that she thought I would be an ideal candidate to buy my local area. At first I laughed and said that in my current situation there no way that I could even dream of doing such a thing, but the more I began to think things over the more I longed to actually give it a go. I knew that I was experienced enough to take on the role, but there were so many hurdles that would make it very difficult.
I am fortunate to have a very supportive family especially my Mum who has been amazing with the children. I talked things through with her and we managed to raise the cash to fund the start-up cost. Once I had sorted that I had to think very hard about how I was going to manage this around the children.
The more I worked for Apollo Care the more I understood the values and the objectives that they were trying to achieve. Cheryl and her Mum had set the company up in 2011, doing a lot of the planning whilst Cheryl was on her maternity leave. Cheryl is a District Nurse and Sue a registered Manager of an Intermediate Care unit, so collectively had the perfect knowledge base. Their idea of setting the company had developed after they had both witnessed poor standards of care in the community and decided that they could do things so much better. Cheryl and Sue’s aim was to build a company that was known for its strong values and that provides holistic care to all its clients. Within 2 years the business had grown so much, and so well known for its reputation that the point had come to either expand massively or to Franchise and retain some of the personal values of the company by having ‘pockets’ of care companies rather than one large organisation.
The more I got to know about the company the more excited I became and couldn’t wait to get started promoting the business and getting my first client. It didn’t take long, with such an excellent reputation going before me the referrals began to come in thick and fast and I was able to develop my team of staff.
3yrs on and I now have 22 staff including myself and 2 care coordinators. Since we opened our doors we have provided over 10,000hrs of care and 13,500 visits to clients in the south Wirral area.
As a single Mum running a business I battle every day, worrying about staffing problems and all the other things which go along with owning and running a business, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of my Friends and my family who have listened when I have had low days and thought I couldn’t carry on and tell me repeatedly how they admire me and support me. Eventually after 3 years I am beginning to reap the rewards and I now have staff who run the office for me so I can concentrate on my family and growing the business further – who knows one day maybe I will eventually find someone special to share it all with.
My advice to anybody who finds themselves in a similar situation to me is – I believe you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it, following your dreams. If I can do it, so can you! x
Click here to find out more about Apollo Care.