Zara and John have co-owned the Liverpool branch of Apollo Care since 2017.
Before joining the Apollo Care family, Zara had worked in retail in managerial roles, however had loved working in care since she was 18 years old.
Zara was always working for various agencies as bank staff.
After finding retail work uninspiring, she decided she wanted something to do something more worthwhile with her everyday life.
Zara’s dad and sister had bought the South Liverpool franchise 3 years earlier and had made a great success of their business.
After seeing the South Wirral franchise were advertising for a co-ordinator to join their team, Zara applied and was successful.
Zara really learnt the role and grew in confidence whilst here and decided that should the chance arise, she would like to become a care manager to deliver a similar impact which she had been a part of in the South Wirral team.
We could see from outside looking in at the South Liverpool team how much hard work was required to set up and establish yourself as a brand-new company and how much depth of knowledge and understanding was required for such an important role. We quickly realised that the best way to gain this knowledge was to go out and do the role and link up when needed with the other experienced team members or head office.
Zara’s fiancé John graduated in 2003 and never really knew what he wanted to do. He had worked in retail in varying roles which culminated in a role which he found unchallenging day-to-day. Like Zara, he was looking for a role where he could make a difference, so in 2017 they took the plunge and set up the Liverpool branch.
Whilst Zara already had care experience, the franchising system allowed an additional element of support which she and John could both call upon when needed. For example, the legal side of the business was something which they never had to worry about as this was already in place and set up.
The good thing about joining a franchise was also the part of being involved in an ever-growing company with a similar outlook to ourselves wanting to make a positive impact and change on vulnerable people.
Zara and John experienced success a lot sooner than anticipated. Originally, they intended to grow the business slowly, however, the support they received from head office and the South Liverpool branch meant they were able to leave their full-time jobs ahead of schedule, and have now both nearly completed their Level 5 NVQs in health and social care and received an overall “good” on their first QCQ inspection report.
Like with any new business, there are high points and low points. Zara recalls that the most difficult moments running her franchise have been losing clients due to old age and illness, which is inevitable in this area of work.
However, the sadness is juxtaposed by the excellent feedback Zara receives from family members and colleagues in the health care profession who have noted the good work their team carry out and the positive impact they have been having on service users.
Their plan now is to grow their presence in Liverpool and achieve an “outstanding” in their next inspection report.