Has it really been 25 years?
Has it really been 25 years? I remember my first day with HICA – it was in September 1992 and I was employed as the Manager of Horrox Court in Keyingham; a small sheltered housing complex for people with a learning disability. I considered myself the luckiest person in the world when I was working there. It was an unusual, quirky place to work with some wonderful staff and residents who I still see today.
As far as working for HICA was concerned, we all saw the transfer of services from the Council to a Not for Profit organisation as a positive step as it was going to allow us to work in a different way and be innovative and creative in the way in which we delivered services to our residents and service users.
And, by and large, with a few dips in the road, I think we pulled it off. The HICA Group remains to this day an organisation where the desire to provide the best services we can is now part of our DNA.
We have supported many people through the years and we have some wonderful stories to tell. We also have employed some amazing team members who, throughout the years have shared our values and used them in their everyday roles. True, people come and people go, but what sets us apart from the rest is the number of team members who want to come back after they have left and the number of team members who wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. I myself am a member of a select club - 6 team members who have been with HICA from the beginning, and we have several team members who have worked for the company for over 20 years!
I am now the CEO of the Group and I have seen so many changes on my journey to where I sit within the organisation today. Along that winding road things have been interesting and rewarding, as well as sometimes difficult and often very challenging. But the challenges we face today are no different from the ones we, as a Not for Profit Organisation faced when we were first formed 25 years ago. The Care Homes that transferred to us from the Local authority needed some investment, and the available funding did not meet those needs. Care Homes were coming under greater and greater scrutiny as Registration and Inspection Units – the pre-cursor to CQC - were set up in the same year we were formed. Social Care was seen as the ‘poor relation’ to the NHS and the recruitment of good quality staff was a challenge through a lack of sensible funding. Then, as now, Fund raising played a major role in our ability to provide wellbeing activities for our residents and we relied very heavily on the goodwill of our teams to go the extra mile in delivering services. Sound familiar? Well the Good News is (yes there is some good news) that we are still the same organisation we were in 1992. After 25 years there is one thing that keeps us coming back for more; always striving to be the best we can be. The value base of our Organisation has never wavered, it has always been first and foremost, about the lives of the people we support and a genuine desire to get it right. We have a strong team, a sound plan and the heart of a lion. We did it then – and we will do it now.
Happy Birthday The HICA Group