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Julie Alford – Choice Homehelp

The prospect of being her own boss would not have occurred to single parent Julie, but at nearly 50 and facing difficulties in finding employment, she felt determined to find a job which would fit in around family life and also give her enough income to come off benefits.

In November 2011, she decided to look for help on how to start her own business, to provide a local housekeeping and social care service. After hearing about Outset Torbay at her local jobcentre, Julie joined their free programme of business start-up workshops in Brixham and gained the skills and encouragement she needed to start her own business.

“The Outset advisors encouraged us to expand our way of thinking about work,” says Julie. They gave us confidence in our own abilities and promoted a ‘can do’ attitude, which was very positive. There was a wonderful spirit of friendship among the group.”

Julie’s business is Choice Homehelp, a service based in Torbay for people who are unable to manage tasks around their home for themselves; due perhaps to a disability, long-term illness, recuperation after an operation or an age-related condition.

“My aim is to enable people to stay independent in their own homes for as long as possible. I carry out a combination of cleaning, laundry, food preparation, light gardening, pet care, shopping and social care. I chose the name Choice Homehelp because, since the introduction of ‘Direct Payments’, people with a disability or long-term illness now have the right to choose who comes to their home to care for them or assist in other ways such as housekeeping.”

Julie is now using her skills and experience in a flexible and rewarding new career, building Choice Homehelp into an established support service, helping local people to live more satisfying and independent lives.

“Since attending the Outset course I have become more confident and self-assured. They have made the transition from being unemployed to running my own business, a much smoother and easier journey. I now feel able to manage my work and finances with confidence. I’m enjoying the flexibility that being my own boss offers, always remembering that my customers’ needs come first!”

Do you need a Home Help but can’t afford one? Contact your local Care Trust Finance and Benefits team (FAB) as you may be entitled to financial assistance. For people living in the Torbay area telephone 01803 219777 to get advice.

To contact Julie for information about Choice Homehelp email choice.homehelp@gmail.com or call 01803 883112.

Outset Torbay is funded by the ERDF Competitiveness and Employment programme and Torbay Development Agency.

For more information on how Outset Torbay could help you develop your business idea into a reality, call us on 0800 032 2905, email us on info@outsettorbay.co.uk or visit www.outsettorbay.co.uk.