Heydays celebrate ten years of making a difference in care

Heydays Care & Support Services have celebrated reaching the milestone of ten years in business this Autumn.

The company was founded by friends and colleagues, Dawn Darby and Kelly Shaw in Autumn 2011.  The duo had worked together in the care sector for a number of years, and each had held various roles in the care industry previously. They both felt passionate about care provision standards and were driven by a desire to make a difference within their local communities.

Dawn Darby, Co-founder of Heydays said, “When we set up the company back in 2011, we knew we wanted to create something different to what was already out there in the marketplace, using our combined knowledge and experience.

“We decided to name the company Heydays because it reminds people of good times and happy memories and that the future is still bright as you get older.”

Kelly Shaw, Co-Founder spoke about the defining moment that motivated her to set up the company after visiting one particular client in a previous role. She explained, “Margaret had Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia which meant she had a lot of needs. She was experiencing 17 different carers coming to visit each week and because there was no continuity, they would keep having to ask her things like where the cereal bowls and washing tablets were kept. Margaret was distraught yet I knew that all the stress she’d experienced could have been avoided.”

After getting registered with the Care Quality Commission, the duo started by taking on one client then another, until they built up a small client base and took on their first employee.

Their hands-on approach has shaped their philosophy and their management style as the company has grown. Now in 2021, Heydays has a team of 51 staff operating from their Head Office and dedicated training facility in Barrow-in-Furness.

Dawn adds “Caring is a vocation, it’s not just a job and it takes someone special to be a carer. It’s key for us that our carers know the standard of care that we want to deliver but we’d never expect them to do anything that we wouldn’t do ourselves.

“We’re still very hands-on and because we still go out and deliver that care ourselves, we know the job inside out and our team get the understanding and support that they need.”

Despite growing the business successfully, the duo explain that they have no plans to grow the business into a large company.

Kelly says, “It’s about quality over quantity and it’s important that we retain that personal element and that we know each and every client. It’s nice when family members ring us about their loved one; we don’t have to go to the filing cupboard to read about them, we know that information already.”

For Heydays, reaching the ten-year milestone has not been without its challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic presented numerous issues and concerns to the care sector, which had never been experienced before. There was a constantly evolving set of processes to implement government guidance, extra PPE to source and support for staff required round the clock.

The duo also described how the pandemic led to a staffing crisis in the sector saying, “The struggle for staff, both in terms of covering shifts as a result of Covid and finding new members of the team was by far the worst we’ve experienced during our ten years in business.”

They added, “We had to get quite creative to get through it, even reaching out to our local MP and running targeted advertising campaigns”.

Despite the challenges of the past 18 months, the team at Heydays have emerged stronger and positive for the future.

To mark their ten-year anniversary, this Autumn they have given the company a brand-new look and feel with a refreshed brand identity, whilst retaining their signature warm and friendly image. They have also launched a new website and a special film which tells the story of the company and how it was founded. The duo also has exciting plans afoot to open their second office in Grange-over-Sands, which is set to open its doors in January.

Dawn commented, “There have certainly been plenty of ups and downs over the last ten years, but what business doesn’t have that? Without a doubt, we’d do it all over again. We’re looking forward to opening our office in Grange and how nice to do so on our tenth anniversary!”

4 | Heydays Care and Support Services