Passion and purpose powers bright future for Northwich specialist care provider
19th October, 2022
The Ward Hadaway North West Fastest 50 awards celebrate the fastest growing, independently owned businesses from across the North West.
Northwich-headquartered We Support, a specialist care provider, was named as the 44th fastest growing business at this year’s awards. Here, we caught up with Craig Seery and Jennifer Hewitson, owners of We Support, to find out their secrets to success.
Tell me about the We Support story – how have you grown?
Craig: Jennifer and I established We Support nine years ago after our own experience in the social care sector. Both of us were working for the same company at the time, Jennifer as an Assistant Psychologist with a degree and masters degree in psychology and I was working as an Accounts Executive with an ACCA Chartered Accountancy Qualification. Given our different experience and strengths, we thought we could provide this specific kind of care ourselves, tailored in a way that we think best meets people’s needs and creates the ideal environment for high quality supported living.
We opened our first supported living service in 2014 at which point Jennifer and I were the only staff members, welcoming our first resident in the summer of 2014. We now look after 27 adults with additional needs across 12 properties. We employ over 70 people ranging from support workers to service managers and back-office staff. We recently bought a new head office, a former bank, in the centre of Northwich, in 2021.
Our growth will not come at a cost to the quality of care we provide – this is what sets us apart from other providers in the region. We want to avoid becoming a care provider where quantity becomes a greater focus above quality, something we are not willing to compromise on. We will always deliver quality care, even if that comes at a cost to further expansion.
What are the core values of We Support – what makes it unique?
Jennifer: Without a doubt, we are very person-centred. Whether it’s a person we support or an employee, we prioritise their needs. Offering a bespoke approach to care is also a core value at We Support that we believe sets us apart from the rest. In every business decision we take, it’s decided with the person we support’s best interests in mind. We put the person at the centre of the care experience, and we overfill a property for profit. It’s about meeting the needs of those we care for as best we can, in the right space, with the right level of care.
From an employee perspective, our staff retention is high, which is quite unusual in social care. Social care has a bit of a bad reputation for undervaluing workers so we ensure we do all we can for the wellbeing of our team.
What has enabled the growth of We Support?
Jennifer: We wouldn’t be where we are today without our committed, talented and passionate team. We Support doesn’t follow the traditional social care model, we’re always thinking outside of the box and are eager to develop and implement new ideas. Our team is always going that extra mile to provide care in a unique and fulfilling way that exceeds expectations. We foster an open and transparent professional working environment that promotes shared values and purpose which has been the driving force behind our growth.
Craig: I also think it’s a result of our strong reputation as a quality specialist care provider as well as down to the relationships we have fostered with external organisations. We have a very strong rapport with the region’s councils and many social workers recommend us and refer people to us.
What’s so great about businesses in the North West, what makes them different?
Jennifer: I think the North West is bursting with fun, friendly care professionals whose talent and tenacity is making a huge difference to the provision of social care in the North West. Everyone is massively supportive and there’s a real feeling of togetherness.
What is it like to run a business as a couple?
Jennifer: It’s definitely unique, that’s for sure! We have shared values both in life and in business and it’s a lovely feeling to know that we have created something together that we are both so passionate about and dedicated to. When we’re relaxing away from work, we often have the best business ideas that just come to us out of the blue and it’s great to be able to discuss them, put a plan in place and then get back to watching our Netflix series or enjoying our meal.
Craig: We know each other inside out, and we know when to approach any business issues or challenges and when not to. Together, our roles within the business and objectives compliment each other to create the best possible outcome for We Support, our employees and service users.
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