‘I’ve never felt so proud’: Agincare founder looks back on 35 years in the care sector

From left Group Matt O’Rourke Chief Financial Officer, Chairman Derek Luckhurst, CEO Raina Summerson cropped

The founder and chairman of Agincare, one of the largest independent care providers in the UK, has reflected on his time in the sector as his company marks its 35th anniversary.

Derek Luckhurst has spoken about the launch of the business in 1986 and said he “couldn’t imagine anything more profound” than the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

From a single care home in Weymouth, Agincare has grown to deliver care nationwide, employing over 3,500 people.

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Thirty-five years ago founder and chairman, Derek Luckhurst, started his first care home – Agincourt – in Weymouth, Dorset. The Luckhurst family lived on site, and Derek got to know care inside-out by delivering it on a day-to-day basis.

Derek Luckhurst (second right) with residents Agincourt Care Home.

Derek’s vision was to create a new style of care home that offered high-quality personalised care and facilities at an affordable price.

Building on Agincourt’s good local reputation, Derek created independent care provider Agincare in 1993 to deliver home care and manage a growing number of care and nursing homes across the country.

In 1994, Agincare was one of the first care providers in the country to be awarded a local authority block contract for home care for older people, and now has over 70 public sector contracts nationwide.

Derek said: “I was inspired to go into the care sector because I knew there were ways of providing a better quality of care than what was available at the time. Since then I’m immensely proud that, in my opinion, we as a team have evolved into the best and greatest value care provider in the country.

“Looking back, I have plenty of memories of the last 35 years, but can’t imagine anything more profound than what we are going through at the moment with the Covid pandemic. I have never felt so proud of the team. Everyone at all levels has played their part from the chief executive, through to our dedicated care workers going out every day risking their lives to provide an essential service to society.” 

Current chief executive Raina Summerson joined in 2004, bringing knowledge and experience as a qualified social worker with a Masters in Mental Health Services.

Before joining Agincare, Raina had worked in private care, with local authorities and the NHS as well as a CQC inspector of care homes and domiciliary care agencies.

Raina said: “The vision for Agincare is to achieve continued growth and a national presence, through self-funded and sustainable expansion and diversification of services.

“Unlike many other care providers, despite our rapid growth and success, Agincare has remained family-owned with no external investors. We are a local and caring organisation driven by people with a passion for what they do.”

Agincare has continued to expand over the years, working with local authorities and introducing innovative new services.

These include live-in care, home care, extra care and support for younger adults, alongside a growing network of over 20 care and nursing homes and retirement villages nationwide.

Since 2017, Agincare’s ‘Training Now’ division has been delivering training courses, qualifications and apprenticeships to its own teams and learners from other organisations too.

Derek’s three sons Adam, Simon and Piers have also learnt about care from the ground up, and are now taking a role in leading Agincare’s growth to ensure it has a successful future.

Agincare will be celebrating the 35 years with its teams and clients with a series of events over the year, Covid dependent.

Spring 2021 will also see Agincare open a new office in Harrogate, Yorkshire to expand its care services in the North of England.

To view HCI’s interview with Raina Summerson, click here.

Caption: From left – CFO Matt O’Rourke, Chairman Derek Luckhurst and CEO Raina Summerson.

Tags : Agincare
Sarah Clarke

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