National Care Group’s astonishing growth and achievements since its creation just five years ago are a tribute to the dedication and passion of its colleagues and the support of the organisations it works with in caring for vulnerable adults. James Allen, CEO, reflects on how National Care Group has navigated one of the most challenging years in the history of social care.
Looking back on the past year, it’s incredible to think how much our company has maintained momentum and moved forward despite the challenges presented to us by the pandemic. I’m incredibly proud of how, as colleagues, everyone has come together to keep people safe at such a remarkable time.
Central to this success is the commitment and care shown to the people at the heart of National Care Group, the individuals we support, which enables them to live full, rewarding and happy lives by unlocking their potential.
Going from strength to strength
We work hard to provide high-quality support to an ever-increasing number of people across the country. And it’s important that we continue to grow, improve and grasp the opportunities that the future presents to ensure this momentum continues. There’s no doubt in my mind that, as a result of the pandemic, we’re a more resilient organisation and there is nothing to hold us back.
After such an extraordinary year, we wanted to find a way to say thank you to all our colleagues, which is why we were thrilled to be able to host our first ever virtual National Care Group Annual Awards.
Almost 1,400 people from across England and Wales tuned into the live event, making it the biggest celebration the company has ever had. The theme we decided upon was ‘unlocking your potential’, and we celebrated the colleagues across our services who have not only done this for the people we support but also for themselves.
Making a difference
When I look back at my two years with National Care Group, the first year was about setting out a vision, building on what had been achieved since our inception in March 2016 and adding even more value to the lives of the individuals we support and our colleagues.
Many in our team would say the early days of the business were something of a rollercoaster journey, and while some people thrive in that kind of environment, it was important to steer ourselves into calmer waters and to achieve the right balance.
The pandemic has, unsurprisingly, tested the changes we have made to our organisation but we’re proud to have seen significant results in several areas, including:
- An increase in the number of individuals we support across our services: We are supporting more people into more independent living if they wish. Learners’ numbers at Regent College, our small, independent specialist college in Stoke on Trent, have also increased.
- A reduction in staff turnover rates: Although we still have things to improve, this has enabled us to give a consistency of support for many individuals.
- An increase in learning and development opportunities: The compliance in mandatory training has been incredible and a credit to all.
- Opening new services across the country: Including some that are supporting individuals with complex needs.
- Refocusing our efforts to ensure that the living environments we provide are maintained to the highest level: And we have worked hard with our housing provider partners.
- Rebranding and relaunching our website: We have introduced new management systems to improve the effectiveness of what we do.
It would be impossible to achieve our goals alone, which is why we’ve built partnerships with the people we support, their families, our colleagues, local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, housing associations, charities and local communities - and these will continue to help us go from strength to strength.
We are committed to growing our organisation and there are several ways we intend to do this, from supporting more people and driving up our quality ratings, to harnessing new technology and attracting the right talent to the industry and more.
As for the individuals we support, we want to instil confidence in them so that they can start re-engaging with their communities while maintaining an awareness of safety – an opportunity that’s incredibly exciting for us after a year of lockdown.
National Care Group may only be five years old but we’ve come such a long way in that time. Only last year we were named as one the UK’s top three fastest-growing private companies in the Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table.
But that doesn’t mean momentum can slow down, we need to continue to innovate, to develop our services and to do the very best for the people we support. And on a personal level, I want our colleagues to feel that they are growing together and for the pride they have about working for us to become even more evident than it is now.