Awards and growth for care provider

Award-winning, employee-owned care provider Care and Share Associates (CASA) has completed the first phase of its ambitious plan to more than double its turnover in the next five years. The Co-operative Loan Fund, Co-operative & Community Finance and Big Issue Invest are providing finance following an innovative restructuring of the business.

CASA provides domiciliary care in some of the largest metropolitan areas in the north of England, including Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, Warrington, Knowsley and North Tyneside. It works closely with local authorities and commissioners to deliver home-based health and social care services to older people, disabled people and those with learning difficulties.

With over 700 employees and it delivers over 16,000 home visits per week to some 1,000 clients. Its bold business plan for the next five years is to grow from £10.5m to £25m turnover, generating profits of £1.5m a year.

CASA started in 2004 with the aim of replicating the success of Sunderland Home Care Associates, the longest running and possibly best known employee-owned care provider. Until 2014 each CASA base – in Manchester, Knowsley, North Tyneside etc – was an independent company operating as part of a franchise.

During 2014 the whole operation was restructured to create a single employee-owned business which started officially on 1 January 2015.

Managing Director Guy Turnbull said: “By combining the franchises into one company we have a much stronger balance sheet, which means that we can bid for larger contracts. The new corporate structure is also more tax efficient and the governance is more transparent, which is essential for an employee-owned business.”

Under the new corporate structure at least 51% of the shares will always be owned by the Employee Ownership Trust but individual workers can also be rewarded with share incentives.

Guy Turnbull said: “We are convinced that employee-ownership makes for better business. Research by the King’s Fund shows that more engaged employees provide a higher standard of care. Also we’ve found in CASA we have lower than average staff turnover which provides better continuity for our clients.”

CASA and Guy himself were recently recognised in the Great British Care Awards: Marie Hedley and Karl Lamb won regional awards in the category of Home Care Worker and Guy won the Outstanding Contribution to Social Care Award for the North East region. They will go through to the national finals in spring 2016.

Ian Rothwell of Co-operative & Community Finance said: “CASA is an innovative and professional business operating in a difficult and changing market. They have borrowed from us on several occasions to help their business adapt and grow.”