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EXCLUSIVE: Bluebird Care eyes 25 new locations, realigns strategy

Yvonne-Hignell-Headshot

Bluebird Care is planning to open up to 25 new branches in the UK over the next five years, Home Care Insight has learned.

The national care provider is eyeing locations in the North of England, Scotland and Wales after establishing the majority of its 200-plus businesses in the South of England and the Midlands since the company was set up in 2004.

But opening new branches is no longer the main driver of growth for Bluebird Care, which is the third largest home care provider in the country in terms of market share, with an annual turnover of around £200 million.

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Under the leadership of Yvonne Hignell, who joined the business as operations director in March 2018 before being promoted to managing director in October, Bluebird Care’s objective is to reposition itself in the marketplace and continue to drive sustainable growth through new channels.

Over the last 12 months the provider has been through a journey of transformation, witnessing a mass exodus of staff in 2018 and restructuring its entire Franchise Support Centre.

Explaining the exodus, Hignell said: “Lots of people had been here a long time and I think that organisations move on and not everybody wants to go in the direction that things are moving in.”

Hignell said she saw the departure of her colleagues as an opportunity to drive the business forward and attract new talent.

“It happens and you just have to roll with it and see it as an opportunity to create a team that really does believe in where you are trying to go and what you are trying to do, and that’s what we have now,” she explained.

“As a team, we’ve reclaimed our culture and decided how we want to work with each other, how we want to engage with each other and what our values are. We’ve also rebuilt relationships with the network, which weren’t as good or strong as they could be.”

Bluebird has also realigned its strategy and has a solid plan for the future.

“It’s about going back to basics. We want to reposition ourselves in the marketplace as the provider that can be there from those light touch, early doors services, before people really think that they need care at home,” said Hignell.

“It’s also about consolidating our place in the market around domiciliary care, but then extending customer length of stay through more complex provision, so bridging the gap between health and social care and really challenging the boundaries of traditional health care that is delivered in communities.

“That has to be supported by a great employer brand that really cares about its people. We want to re-establish ourselves in the market, not just as a provider, but as an employer. So it’s about driving growth through great employment opportunities, caring for and valuing our team members and increasing the customer length of stay.”

Caption: Bluebird Care managing director Yvonne Hignell.

Tags : Bluebird Carenew branchstrategyYvonne Hignell
Sarah Clarke

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