We are an independent, family run home care agency based in Escrick, York. Established in 1984, today, Riccall Care (RC) is run by Gill and Tony Conroy, their daughter Helen and son in laws Mike Richards and Adam Thompson and employs over 230 local people.

Riccall Care Family Business - three generations

L to R: Helen Conroy, Adam Thompson, Peter Lawson, Gill Conroy, Mike Richardson, Tony Conroy, Sarah Richardson

In 1984 accountant Peter and social worker Sheila Lawson sold the family home and used the money to open a care home for the elderly with daughter Gill, then working as a nurse. Gill and her mother did most of the hands-on work: cooking, cleaning, redecorating and caring for the first residents, striving to ensure that dignity, respect and compassion were at the heart of their work; aims woven into the DNA of the business today.

Family integrity, pride and care

“Working with mum was always a joy, her housekeeping and caring standards were very high and we got on very well. Dad managed the accounts, ensuring we remained afloat and teaching me the value of every penny!” Gill Conroy

In 1993, following the Community Care Act, the business diversified into domiciliary care as the family were already delivering meals on wheels to the elderly in the village. Gill’s husband Tony joined the family business as Peter and Shelia neared retirement. A plumber by trade, Tony took over the bookkeeping from Peter and taught himself to use computers and specialist software.

In 1998, with an excellent reputation for delivering outstanding care, Peter and Sheila retired; however, Peter, at 89 years’ old still has an interest in the business today.

Alongside raising a family of five, Gill and Tony’s strong relationship, example and leadership kept the business flourishing and eldest daughter Sarah joined as a carer prior to becoming a nurse.

In 1999 Tony and Gill took on a second care home, a third in 2001 and a fourth in 2006. Fast realising the need for quality care training Gill took the unusual step for a small care business in creating a training department to ensure high quality care giving.

“The quality of care delivered to our residents and clients is paramount and I have always been passionate about training and developing good care workers. I feel they are a much undervalued group of people and deserve higher recognition for the important and essential work they do.” Gill Conroy

The core of the care work continues to be with elderly and vulnerable people but RC also supports individuals with mental health needs, learning disabilities, sensory impairment, chronic and terminal illness.

In 2008 RC won a Great North Care Award (GNC) for its care training approach and expertise, relocated to Escrick Business Park and was joined by new son in law Mike Richards. Fresh from 10 years with Aviva, Mike brought in technical know-how and new operating systems – implementing cutting-edge technology to monitor calls and care appointments. In 2013 Mike became a Director.

“The faster dynamics of working in a small family business are both exciting and stressful. Yet, when things are tough we all pull together like families do and that means whatever happens we grow stronger.” Mike Richards

2009 – The training team expanded and GNC Best Manager Award by one of their care homes registered managers.

2010 – RC was approached by York Social Services to run a day care centre at Auden House, followed swiftly by establishing their own Strensall Day Care Centre for over 50s.

2011 – Gill and Tony’s youngest daughter Lucy joined Riccall Care as a care support worker, eventually co-ordinating the Review and Assessment team.

2012/2013 – RC launched their dedicated, fully equipped training suite and accredited care training courses, including specialist dementia awareness courses. Available to all care sector workers, private individuals and businesses offering vital learning and support to anyone with a care responsibility.

“Care, especially domiciliary care, can be a difficult area to manage. As a family we have always believed strongly that quality care comes from good people, trained well and that’s our priority.” Tony Conroy

2014 – RC launched their new website and social media focusing on giving information and support to people already in and looking for care, with ongoing emphasis on excellence in care training. www.riccallcare.co.uk

2015 – RC recognised with a national Family Business Place Red Ribbon Award.

2016 – Twelve months of improvement and community engagement… highlights include:

  • Introducing website ‘live chat’ for faster response and engagement
  • Staff improvement via their unique ‘8+’ quality training programme
  • Launch of monthly dementia friendly Care Café – free and open to all, offering professional advice alongside companionship and support for those caring for friends and relatives at home
  • Supporters of national Antibiotic Guardian initiative
  • National Skills for Care Accolade Finalists for the Training Department
  • Discounted dementia care training for non-professional family members

2016 community fundraising/sponsorship includes:

  • York Food Bank
  • Railway Institute Under 11 Football Team
  • Lord Mayors Charities Golf Day
  • Stillingfleet Beer and Music Festival
  • ‘Taking the P’ prostate cancer 10K run
  • Rotary Dragon Boat Race in partnership with York Blind and Partially Sighted Society
  • Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day

This year Gill and Tony’s daughter Helen and her husband Adam joined the business to ensure Riccall Care’s continuity, growth and, most of all, the delivery of high quality home care.

RC family business values and learning:

  • Clearly defined job roles and responsibilities are important for directors and employees
  • You cannot do it all yourself – invest time and money in training others well
  • Be fair, be compassionate, invest in your team and they will repay you
  • Egos have no place in business or families – mutual respect does
  • Recognise each other’s strengths and support each other’s weaknesses
  • Effective debt management – pay bills on time and give priority to banks
  • Enjoy the rewards of supporting other local family businesses and wider community

“The third generation, I’m not only proud but also looking forward to expanding and continuing the fantastic reputation of Riccall Care, together with working hard to continue the high standards and investment in people promoted by our family business.” Helen Conroy.