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Hummingbird Home Help

Claire Collins is the former manager of Claire’s Care: a successful community enterprise in Hertfordshire. With the support of Community Catalysts and the Community Enterprise Project, she has set up Hummingbird Home Help to provide older people with home help and pet care services.

“I worked in the domiciliary care industry for a number of years looking after older people and people with a disability in their own homes via Claire’s Care which I set up in 2012. We became very successful and in a short period of time, I was managing 28 members of staff in the Hertfordshire area and together we built a great reputation.

I dedicated my life to my company and had a great flow of referrals through care brokerage, social services and word of mouth. I decided to sell my business in 2016 and follow my passion in animal care. By doing this I can offer combination care for people and pets, bringing ‘home help’ to another level. People needing home help don’t have to have pets to access this service and some of my customers even like me bringing my own dog when I visit them.”

What motivated Claire to set up her new enterprise?

Claire was very clear why she wanted to set up Hummingbird Home Help and she, her customers and their families are seeing the benefits this unique personalised service can have.

“It is a proven fact that having pets is mentally stimulating and great company for those that live alone, but many older and isolated people have to give up their pets as they are not able to look after them independently. This should not be the case and I am here to help with that.

I decided to follow my dream of working within the care sector in my local area of St Albans and surrounding areas.

I spent months working on my business plan to make it stand out and be different from any other! A personal, caring and trusted service was my aim. I wanted to offer the type of service that I would use myself. I knew all pet owners want to know that their pets are going to be in safe loving hands with people who care and show they are doing it for genuine reasons and not just another business centred on making money.” 

What did Community Catalysts do for Claire?

Sara from Community Catalysts supported Claire to turn her ideas into something real and successful.

“When I started my business Purr-Fetch-Pets in 2016 walking just a few dogs, things were slow and I wasn’t sure I could carry on due to the volume of other small similar businesses in my area. I met with Sara and she helped me revise my business to be something a little different. I have rebranded my company as Hummingbird Home Help and now support older people to look after their pets whilst helping them with low level tasks in the home. I have even set up a dog therapy service for my customers who have dementia where I visit them at home with my dog and have a cup of tea and a chat with them; family members and carers have seen such a difference in mood and communication skills.

Without Sara my concept would not have reached the right organisations or health and social care professionals who see the benefits of my service. I am now linked in with and receive referrals from the Community Navigation Service and am on the Hertfordshire Directory. I have over 40 customers in a small local area and with more help from Sara I believe I can grow this so many more people in the wider community can benefit from my support.”

What do people say about Claire and Hummingbird Home Help?

Claire gets great feedback about the services and support that she provides:

“After searching for a local dog walking service due to suffering multiple physical health issues I was very pleased to find Hummingbird Home Help, based in my village. I had a spinal operation in 2010 which went badly wrong and has left me with a partial paralysis and many residual problems including suffering two mini strokes, fibromyalgia, C.O.P.D and anxiety. I am on a very limited budget, and unable to walk my dog Skyla, who is very important to me. I need to ensure she has regular walks to keep her healthy. She improves my mental state and general wellbeing.

Finding Hummingbird Home Help and meeting Claire who has a background in the care sector has been so reassuring for me, especially as she is local and I know I can phone her if I have any emergencies. My dog thoroughly enjoys her walks. I would highly recommend.”

Angela – owner of Skyla

Update June 2022 – Hummingbird Home Help continues to grow!

Claire speaks about how why she decided to work on a self-employed basis, how she’s continued to grow her enterprise and the support she’s received from Community Catalysts. The video also features Dawn from Dawn Til Dusk in Wrexham.