Zinnia Care

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Zinnia Care is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Managing Director
Dedicated and responsive
staff are key to success
Zinnia Care provides community-focused homecare within
the areas of Hertfordshire and central Bedfordshire,
looking after elderly people within their own homes.
Director and Registered Manager Nicky Enweremadu started
her business as a franchise in 2007 – and in the 12 years
since, Zinnia has grown and experienced a great deal of
success. It employs 35 different carers and office staff across
its two branches, which are based in Hertfordshire and
Northamptonshire. Nicky tells
The Parliamentary Review
about Zinnia’s history and how the company came to be.
I have a background in the medical profession – after graduating, I took a master’s
degree and started to practise in the field, soon becoming interesting in looking after
people. I then moved towards teaching, but ceased doing so in 2006 to look at care.
A friend of mine advised me not to start an agency on my own, but rather look at
operating through a franchise. After some research, I discovered Caremark, a direct
care franchise provider – and started trading under their name in 2007.
The next year, I left to set up independently and changed the organisation’s
name to Zinnia Care. We are now no longer a franchisee, and we provide
dedicated, passionate and comforting care to elderly people across the counties of
Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
Our person-centred care services are provided for people who have physical
disabilities, mental health issues, learning difficulties, dementia or are elderly. We
offer a wide range of care services including all aspects of personal care tailored
»Managing Director:
»Established in 2007
»Based in Hertfordshire and
»Services: Person-centred care
»No. of employees: 35
Zinnia Care
Highlighting best practice
to suit their wishes and needs, various
domestic duties, including preparation
of light meals, assistance with
medication, hospital appointments,
shopping, collecting pension, end-of-
life care, respite care or just general
Since 2013, we have had great
feedback from service users and
relatives alike, who have told us
that our care is excellent, truly
comprehensive and, above all else,
truly person-centred.
Training – an absolute priority
For the carers we employ, we make a
high level of training the first port of
call, without exception.
Our initial five-day training course
covers most of the usual things carers
will encounter, as well as mandatory
points of compliance, before entrants
leave with a care certificate. Topics
include medication handling,
safeguarding, food hygiene, attitude
and health and safety.
We predominantly recruit through
social media and Indeed, using DBS
checks to ensure that staff are suitable
and well-positioned for the role ahead
of them.
The Zinnia process
We arrange assessments with service
users as the first step of our caring
relationship with them. This is a short
appointment where we meet them and
family members, speak about what
they need, discuss their background
and history and decide the necessary
measures to take.
Meeting someone in an individual
capacity is a great first step to forming
a friendly, caring relationship. Having
relatives in the room also helps
everyone involved to become invested
in the care process and understand
what the individual requires.
After that, we draw up a care plan
– which is always person-centred,
without exception – to focus on the
needs, choices and wishes of the
service user in question. Members of
our team will then work with them
with an uncompromising focus on
their health and wellbeing.
Our approach has been lauded by
clients, families and councils alike, and
we are proud to continue delivering
the high levels of care we have become
acclaimed for.
Staffing and recruitment
We are always looking for friendly,
self-motivated and organised
individuals who are sensitive to the
needs of others, naturally caring
people and effective communicators.
We think we can make a difference in
someone’s life. We listen to feedback
and make every effort to ensure staff
are comfortable and secure in their
working environment.
Acquiring care staff does prove to be
a continual challenge. Getting them
to cover calls and visits is a difficult
process at the best of times, and when
Person-centred care
We make a
high level of
training the
first port of
call, without
someone can just call in and tell us
they’re not working with an hour
or two’s notice, we need to cover
A service user can’t be told that
nobody’s coming to provide care
for them – that’s just unacceptable.
However, our staffing issues have
meant that office staff have often had
to leave to cover the call – managers,
co-ordinators and sometimes even
myself as director of the business.
We could opt to use agency staff –
and we have done in the past – but
that is an expensive road to go down.
Between council and agency fees the
cost is near-extortionate, and we as
the care provider have no choice but to
cover in any way we possibly can.
A key feature for any successful
homecare business is staff retention. In
our case, more than 50 per cent of our
staff have been with us for more than
three to five years. In this business,
we become part of our service users’
family. As our clients are vulnerable
adults who open up their homes
to us, staff consistency is of vital
importance and helps to build trust
and satisfaction.
Council contracts need to be
well thought-out
To help, we do need local and central
government alike to renew their focus
on a streamlined framework for adult
social care contracts. The release of
the long-awaited green paper would
certainly be helpful, but in lieu of that,
a short-term solution would be to
redefine how we win business.
One aspect that needs closer
examination is the distance that care
workers often have to cover. There’s
a lot of running around, and councils
just don’t care about that; they
don’t subsidise fuel costs or vehicle
purchases, which would help us to
deliver care more effectively.
The petrol cost alone of being a care
worker is not insignificant; some kind
of plan in place to help providers like
ourselves cope with the real demand
we face out there as the ageing
population continue to grow would be
most welcome.
Future legislation
Irrespective of the outcome of the
adult social care green paper, it is clear
that two things need to be brought
to the government’s attention:
agency staffing and mileage. Greater
regulation and more supportive
frameworks in this regard would be
helpful not just for us, but providers
across the country.
In spite of these difficulties, however,
we at Zinnia Care continue to
overcome every obstacle and grow
without hesitation. In the future, I
would like to see us open further
branches around the country and
become the homecare provider of
To do this, we will continue to operate
with our person-centred ethos in mind
and supply care which really makes
a difference to our service users and
their relatives.
We will continue
to operate with
our person-
centred ethos in
mind and supply
care which really
makes a
difference to our
service users and
their relatives
Care staff can make a
difference in someone’s


This article was sponsored by Zinnia Care. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.