A couple in their 20s are launching their own domiciliary care service in a bid to provide ‘first class care’ to people living in South West England.
Benjamin Wakefield and Michael O’Connor established Smeaton Healthcare in February to offer a befriending service and staff support for care homes. And after a successful six months, they are now expanding the business to include home care.
Benjamin, 22, and 23-year-old Michael said the move was “daunting”, but are “loving every minute” of running the business, based in Plymouth.
“Just being able to give back to the community is something we always wanted, and to be able to do this for a living is an even bigger bonus,” said Benjamin.
The partners have a combined 15 years of experience in the health and social care sector. Benjamin started in home care at the age of 17 and has worked various roles, including being a team leader for a domiciliary care provider.
Michael began working in the social care sector when he left school and has worked his way up from administration to becoming a substance misuse specialist and managing his own case load.
Commenting on setting up Smeaton Healthcare, Benjamin said: “Leaving our jobs, which have served us well and gave us a lot of security, was massively daunting. However, we were confident that this was the right choice for us and we knew it was something we were both extremely passionate about and had plenty of knowledge with so much room to learn more.”
In just six months, Smeaton Healthcare has grown to employ 30 healthcare professionals serving residential homes based in Devon and Cornwall.
The business is currently in the process of launching its domiciliary care service and is awaiting registration from the Care Quality Commission.
“This was always a big goal for us, especially since I began my career in domiciliary and Michael was always used to managing his own case load. It was expanding Smeaton Healthcare even further into something we know so well together,” said Benjamin.
Commenting on the partners’ future plans, Benjamin said they have ambitions for growth, but are currently focused on providing a “first class service”.
“We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves,” he said. “We believe in quality over quantity. So we will take each moment as it comes and ensure that we are doing the best that we can do as a care provider.”