Former Racehorse Breeder Launches Home Care Business
A former Shropshire racehorse breeder has quit her career in the saddle to take the reins of a new bespoke home care company that supports older people living independently in their own homes.
Rachael Birchall, a horse breeder for 20 years, was inspired to make her dramatic career change after the experience of caring for her maternal grandmother for the last two years of her life.
She enjoyed the role so much, and it made such a big difference to her grandmother’s quality of life, that she became determined to set up a care company that would provide the sort of one-to-one care and companionship that she had been able to give.
Established as a franchise of Home Instead Senior Care, a national award-winning care provider, it covers Shrewbury, Ludlow and Oswestry and the surrounding rural areas. So far the company, based at Leaton Knolls, near Shrewsbury, has recruited over 20 caregivers and plans to recruit up to 150 over the next two years.
“We differ from many other home care providers because we’re geared up to covering rural areas and we offer a flexible service which allows clients to get the help they want, exactly when they want it, no matter what time of the day,” said Rachael.
“That help might range from personal non-medical care, chores around the home and doing the shopping, right through to looking after pets, cooking meals and accompanying clients on social visits.”
After becoming a widow, Rachael’s 93-year-old grandmother moved into a flat nextdoor to her home on the family-run stud farm Helshaw Grange, at Tern Hill, near Market Drayton.
“She was struggling living on her own and had endured the indignity of poor home care such as being left lying in a wet bed by care providers,” said Rachael.
“In between my work with the horses, I was able to become her main carer. I helped her get dressed, go to bed, took her on visits to the shops and other outings. She was able to attend church, which she hadn’t done for some time and, for those last two years of her life, she enjoyed the love and interaction of her family around her.
“We were able to enhance her quality of life and she was happy and active in her mind until the end. This inspired me to want to go on and provide quality care to other older people who wish to stay living independently in their own homes.”
Becoming a franchise with Home Instead Senior Care was the perfect answer for Rachael as the organisation’s values and ethos reflected her own.
“Companionship is very important to us as many older people can suffer with feelings of loneliness and isolation. We match one caregiver per client, so our carers always have the time for a proper chat and don’t have to dash off to the next appointment,” added Rachael, who now lives at Uffington, near Shrewsbury.
“Research shows that maintaining mental stimulation, social interaction and independent living in their own home not only enhances older people’s quality of life, it also prolongs their life.”
Rachael was a racehorse breeder based at Helshaw Grange for nearly 20 years. She also achieved a degree of personal success as an event rider at Riding Club level. Her father, Alan Birchall, owned Saxon Farm, a race champion that came to national prominence in 1983 when he won the Daily Express Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The family also enjoyed a great deal of success with Accumulator, a top event horse that represented Great Britain and was short-listed for the Olympics until he was injured. The stud now leases its training facilities to the racehorse trainer Nicky Vaughan.