I was reminiscing earlier about some of the clients we have helped here in Plymouth. One of my favourite ladies is called Irene. I first met her when her son called me after seeing our advert in the local magazine …
He had recently undergone an operation on his hip and couldn’t do too much for his Mum at the present time so needed Extra Help. When I went to meet Irene she was lovely. She lives in Plymouth in a managed apartment block.
Irene wanted to get out and about, but found it difficult on her own. She walks with a frame and is scared to go anywhere on her own. She had lost her husband a year or so earlier and that had taken its toll on her confidence.
Irene loves food shopping in Marks and Spencer; this is her treat to herself. So every Monday morning, we used to go to the local M&S and do her shopping. Irene is real good fun and when I first started the Plymouth franchise I wanted to be hands on and experience all of the roles myself.
Irene has four hours help a week. Two hours on a Monday and two on a Thursday. As I mentioned, Monday’s were usually her shopping day and on the Thursday we used to go out and about. Irene loves a good bargain so we’d drive to Mutley Plane and trawl through the charity shops there.
Sometimes we’d go up onto the Hoe for a coffee and watch the ships sailing past. I loved my time looking after Irene but as the franchise grew I knew I had to put more hours into running the business rather than the doing bit.
You see Extra Help is a franchise. I’m actually one of the franchisors and chose to set up the Plymouth franchise when I moved to the South West three years ago. The idea for Extra Help came from my friend – and now business partner – Sarah Jackson.
Sarah had a cleaning franchise and I had a magazine company and she advertised with me. We are both of similar character and decided to set up this business together. As I had no experience in this field, I decided to start from the ground up, especially as we had plans to franchise the business and I needed to have the experience first-hand of running a franchise to teach it. Hence my role as home helper with Irene.
I then found Louise Pen-Collings, who I knew from networking. She wanted some part time work so willingly became a home helper for Extra Help and took on Irene along with a few other clients. Later Louise came to work with me as manager of the Plymouth and SE Cornwall franchises. I think the experience of being home helpers has given us both invaluable experience of running the local franchise as well as the company as a whole.
I’m pleased to say that Irene is still going strong two years later, is still a valued client and our home helper Debbie now takes care of her. I pop in when I’m passing and share a cup of tea and have a natter. Irene really is a fabulous lady and we all love her to bits.
If you have an elderly relative or know someone who needs some Extra Help, please visit our website, give us a call on +44 (0) 845 618 2904 or click here to ping over an email and we’ll put you in touch with the franchisee for your local area.
Until next time …