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Setting up my own enterprise means I have control over how my support is offered.

I’m a people person, someone who loves to talk and learn about others, which is probably the reason why I was successful working in sales/promotions as a trade manager in the IT industry for 15 years. Moving home and having children meant I was looking for a job role that could fit around my family life, so I started my first business as a childminder to support other families and spend more time with my own.

I have always had an entrepreneurial drive to work for myself and as my children got older and went to school, I was now looking to do something based in the community that enabled me to help adults in my local area. I knew people were becoming increasingly isolated and that some services didn’t always have the capacity to be flexible to meet all the diverse needs. At this stage I approached a Careers Advisor in Biggleswade, and found out about Community Catalysts. I met with Alistair, the Community Catalyst for Central Bedfordshire, and he explained how he could support me. After a few more meetings and before I knew it, I had my own business (Together) working closely with adults to gain control and live independently at home and in their communities.

Working with Community Catalysts meant I was able to understand more about the gaps within the provision of local support, and connect with local social care workers, which helped me shape my services around people’s needs. This quickly led to my first customer enquiry, I met the family alongside a social worker and a plan was put in place for me to support them.

Running and developing my own enterprise means I can have control over how I offer my support services. I can build up relationships with individuals and their families and give them the much-needed time they wouldn’t usually get with a big care agency. I can take on different roles such as helping around the home, organising appointments, being a listening ear, bridging the gap between the customer and healthcare professionals and supporting people to cope with their long-term conditions. All with the aim of helping them live well at home. My philosophy is to empower and enable people, that ‘together we can’ achieve a fulfilling life within our community.

“Kelly is quite simply “a star”. I have been closely working with Kelly while she supports a gentleman who has an Acquired Brain Injury and mild physical impairment. Kelly supports this gentleman for 5 days per week offering him support within his own home with activities of daily living and cognitive rehabilitation, and has also helped him to access his local community again while his wife has continued to work to support the family. Kelly also provides support to the whole family and goes way over and above what she is actually being paid to do. Kelly always has a smile when she turns up to support my client no matter how difficult the day may present as she remains positive and finds a way to try to resolve the problems and support all concerned. Kelly is a very caring and passionate lady who clearly cares about those she supports.”

Lynne Chastney, Social Worker

My favourite part of running my own business is how extremely rewarding it is. I’ve always enjoyed helping people and I feel privileged to be accepted into my customers’ homes. I think people underestimate what that must feel like to have to acknowledge you need help and allow someone into your home. I get strength from what my customers go through as they inspire me. Because I can develop a positive relationship with my customers, I am able to connect with their wider support network and support them better.

“Kelly is the support worker for my client who has an acquired brain injury. In the 6 months that Kelly has been supporting my client, she has been instrumental in helping them and their family to address a number of financial, emotional and practical issues that have resulted from the injury. She is empathetic and non-judgemental, capable and pro-active. She sets high standards and has a strong work ethic.”

Liz Findlay, Community Brain Injury Adviser: Headway Bedford

Community Catalysts have been key in helping me understand the world of adult social care, polices, regulations, and insurance, and are an invaluable source of advice and support when needed. When you are doing something on your own, just talking to someone else with the knowledge they have and the shared vision of what you are looking to achieve goes a long way to making it easier.