Thursday, 19 August 2010

Norwich Care Company’s Australian Venture

A chance conversation at the Breakaway business networking group in Norwich in 2008, has led to Able Community Care exporting its skills and experience to Australia.

Able Community Care has secured an 18-month contract with Australian Home Care Services (AHCS) to facilitate the launch of the first specialist live-in care service in Victoria. Anthony Henessey, AHCS’s new Live-in Care Manager is beginning the process by spending two weeks at Able Community Care’s head office in Trowse near Norwich (ends August 27).

Able Community Care is a specialist live-in care provider, established in 1980 in Norwich to offer an alternative to older and disabled people who wish to remain in their own home, rather than moving into residential care. The company operates throughout the UK and the Channel Islands.

Australia does not have specialist live-in care providers. AHCS wants to be the first company to provide this service, responding to an ageing population and a growing number of younger disabled people, with high dependency care needs, wanting to live in their own home.

AHCS works in New South Wales and Victoria and is part of the MS Society of Australia. This not for profit organisation provides services for thousands of Australians on an hourly or shift basis, but no live-in services.

The conversation at the Breakaway meeting was about how older people are cared for in different parts of the world. Angela Gifford, owner of Able Community Care since 1980, mentioned how she had carried out some research into the problems many British Expats were having in Spain and in addition, the differences in Australian care for older and disabled people.

Unknown to Angela Gifford, the conversation was repeated at another network meeting and a few weeks later a call from EEDA asked if Angela was interested in exporting Able Community Care’s knowledge and skills to an international market. The vehicle offered was the UKTI (United Kingdom Trade and Investment) Passport to Export Scheme followed by the UKTI Gateway Scheme.

A research visit in 2008 to Australia – Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – where 20 meetings were arranged by a UKTI Trade Advisor based in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Melbourne, followed by a further visit in 2009 has now led to contracts with AHCS and an appointment as Special Counsel, Ageing and Disability Care for Aegis Consutlting, an international consultancy located in four Australian cities.

Anthony Hennessey of Australian Home Care Services said: “AHCS provides 1.3 million hours of community care every year to 4500 care recipients on behalf of more than 300 organisations. We are excited to be developing with Angela Gifford, the first specialist live-in care service to allow care recipients to remain in their own home, and maximise their independence as an alternative to entering supported accommodation or aged care facilities.”

Angela Gifford of Able Community Care said: “I am delighted to be working with AHCS, an organisation that has the same aims and objectives as Able Community Care. Both companies aim to provide a care environment where people have choice, respect and a secure, reliable, care service delivery in their own home. Offering the experience and skills that Able Community Care has gained over 30 years to an organisation that wishes to give a new choice to older and disabled Australians is an exciting prospect.”

John Rimmer, UKTI said: “Angela Gifford’s achievement in Australia cannot just be measured in her hard work, her research and her numerous trips to that country, but in her ability to take a business model, successful in the UK in one form, and modify it in order for it to work in an Australian environment.”

For more information about Able Community Care tel. 01603 764567,

Photograph Anthony hennessey AHCS with Angela Gifford Able Community Care