Meet Our Owner – Mark Booker
Care in your own home is very much a personal service, its about helping vulnerable people. Not all, but most of the people requiring our help are over 70 years of age. Given this, as the owner of the business I think it is important to tell you a little bit about myself and how I came to be involved in the home care. I know that this is important to some of our customers, and their families.
Independent Living was set up by myself (Mark Booker) in December 2011. Prior to this I worked in the public sector in the North West of England. My main role was to distribute public grants and then monitor that the money was spent properly by those receiving them. The grants were used for young people’s projects, helping unemployed people return to work, training programmes to help people start their own business and giving money towards building community centres. In 2011 with government cutbacks I was made redundant on my 40th birthday.
With two children to support (Thomas and Charlotte) redundancy was an unsettling time but it did make me think about what I wanted to do with the second half of my working life. I decided I wanted a job where I was in control, I could make the decisions and could plan the work. The obvious answer was to start a small business. It was pointed out to me that “home care” was a growing sector of the economy. We have an ageing population and over the next 20-30 years it is projected to rapidly increase. Generally most of us want to stay in our own home for as long as we can, a care home is usually seen as a last resort.
I investigated the home care sector and felt it was something that suited my personality and would also provide an income for my family. As my mum was a single parent and worked full time I was partly brought up by my grandma and spent a lot of time with my Uncle Mick (my grandmas brother) and as a result feel that I have a particular skill in understanding and relating to older people – I know their values and standards, what they expect, the words they use, what concerns them. Whereas some people are naturals at communicating with children I just seemed to be able get along well with older people!
I enjoy all aspects of the home care business even though it is not easy! Whether this is meeting and helping customers, giving people an employment opportunity, encouraging staff to learn and develop, marketing, recruiting, managing the finance and complying with regulations. Home care is a challenging business which changes daily and we face difficult situations but it is highly rewarding.
The business is now well established in a shop in the Eaves Lane community of Chorley where we have been since 2015. Our core areas are the whole of the Chorley Borough and the Leyland/Croston area. We are also well established in Parbold and Wrightington which back onto the Chorley boundary. In the last few years we have also helped people in Standish, Shevington and Appley Bridge. We try to work no more than 8 miles from our office because in an emergency our office staff can be at a customers’ home inside half an hour.
I also make a positive contribution the local area. I was a member of Leyland Rotary Club for 5 years supporting events such as the “Duck Race” and the “Leyland Festival”. I financially support Leyland Community Radio, Chorley FM, Chorley Football Club and various local events such as the Euxton Gala/Leyland Festival. In April 2018 I created the “Euxton Chronicle” a monthly magazine to 4,000 homes in the Euxton area which carries a range of community news.
In my spare time I look after my family. My two children are still of a school age and like all parents get involved with taking them to parties, school events, brownies…….Given the long hours involved running a care business my summer holidays are particularly enjoyed. A number of years ago I was a middle distance runner and although I no longer do this I still enjoy keeping fit at “Gym Works” in Euxton – “keeping my weight down”! For relaxation I enjoy reading, in particular current affairs and business biographies.