Case Study - Home Instead Charities, with Executive Director Penny Hamer

Having originally started out with a career in retail, it was in 1997 that Penny Hamer first began working for a charity. Now the Executive Director of Home Instead Charities, Penny is passionate about making a difference to the lives of people who are disadvantaged, whether that’s through age, disability, poverty, illness or social exclusion and is driven by a desire to make a difference in the world.

Heading up the Co-op’s charity team and launching the Co-op Foundation in 2000 to celebrate the millennium, Penny’s love of the sector was ignited, moving on to work in senior roles within charities ever since including: The British Heart Foundation, Alzheimers Society, Lancashire Mind and The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

In January 2020, Penny decided to move away from the charity sector to join Home Instead and commented: “As a private business Home Instead want to reach and improve the lives of as many ageing adults as possible, irrespective of their ability to pay for services offered by the core business. Home Instead Charities enables them to do this and deliver on the overarching mission of ‘expanding the worlds capacity to care’. My role as Executive Director means I am able to direct how, where, what, when and why we do this which satisfies my personal values and principles of service to the wider community”.

Founded in April 2014, Home Instead Charities support ageing adults by providing funding to grass roots community groups who are best placed in their communities to know what the challenges, wants and needs are. They do this by giving away grant awards to support organisations working to end loneliness and isolation in ageing adults.

Home Instead Charities also have 13 companionship cafes across the UK working with community groups and the local Home Instead Office to provide a safe, warm and welcoming space for ageing adults to meet, socialise and learn new skills. They also received funding from Access Foundation to be able to offer digital skills to help people to navigate an ever-increasing digital world.

Home Instead Charities also provides the opportunity for the franchise network to get involved in activities up and down the country as part of their local communities.

Penny says: “The Home Instead franchise network is a wonderful support for Home Instead Charities. Local franchises have climbed Kilimanjaro, trekked up Mount Snowden, ran in marathons and took part in cycling events and triathlons, but it doesn’t have to be a big or extraordinary event to have an impact. Often small, regular events such as bake sales, raffles and stalls in the community raise just as much money, and can have a greater impact in engaging the community in the work of Home Instead Charities and Home Instead. We are able to support local offices in whatever they choose to do, big or small”.

2024 is set to be an exciting year for Penny and Home Instead Charities as they celebrate their 10th anniversary! With a goal to raise more money than ever before, in order to ensure continued support of ageing adults, the franchise network will be receiving a fundraising pack to hold their own celebrations in their communities.

Penny concluded: “The most rewarding part of doing my job is knowing that the groups and people we support are really making a difference to the lives of ageing adults in the community. The franchise network play a huge part in this and I’m really grateful for their outstanding work and contribution in supporting our charity”.

To find out more about the Home Instead charities, visit: