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Firm aims to plug the care gap in Todmorden

David Hamilton and Nicola Szymik-Walters
David Hamilton and Nicola Szymik-Walters

A new care company is putting the people of Todmorden at the heart of its business.

First Calder Care has been set up by David Hamilton and Nicola Szymik-Walters to deliver care services to Todmorden residents, who Nicola says can often be overlooked by other care companies due to its proximity to the rest of the borough.

David and Nicola both live in Todmorden, with David a former strategic partnership manager for a company that was supporting wounded, injured and sick service personnel and disabled veterans into employment, and Nicola a former support worker for the local council and NHS partnership.

Registered manager Nicola said: “We wanted to make a difference and there was a need for a Todmorden-specific service.

“Support services in Halifax don’t want to cater for Todmorden due to travelling times and costs.

“Plus you’re very restricted as a support worker - if the business isn’t well led there’s not much you as an individual can do. But if you are leading the service you can make a difference.

“It’s been challenging setting it up. It’s taken 12 months from having the idea but having started trading on March 1 we have 15 staff on the books and five service users.

“We’ve actually turned a further seven clients away because of their location. We hope to expand to across Calderdale eventually but for now we’re focusing on Todmorden.”

The company offers a variety of support packages to adults from assisting them with personal care, helping with domestic duties and shopping, or just to sit with someone and have a chat or take them out to socialise.

It was recently reported that more than 900 adult social care workers a day quit their job in England last year, leading to the chairman of the UK Homecare Association saying the adult social care system - which applies to those over the age of 18 - has begun to collapse.

Nicola added: “My background is in recruitment and HR so I’m very passionate about that area. If you don’t get recruitment right you can’t provide an effective service. I believe a lot of care companies have poor leadership and do not recruit the right people. It’s vital that the right staff are in place - we offer ongoing training and we pay above the minimum wage. Staff retention is a big area in the industry.”