From Little Acorns…..
Nestled in the heart of Devon, in the picturesque village of Winkleigh, is Little Acorns, a residential care home owned and managed by local company Enigma Care Ltd, who are Autism specialists. We speak to owner Ann Marie Senger about her growing business.
Little Acorns is an 11-bedroom registered residential care home for adults with learning difficulties and on the autistic spectrum. It was opened five years ago after owner Ann Marie Senger spotted a detached property with land and development potential. She approached the bank for a loan to buy the house and set up the business.
“I approached Simpkins Edwards right from the start to help me with my business plan and loan application,” said Ann Marie, who has worked with Partner Lynn Woodward and her team for the past six years. “Lynn helped me develop my plans in a lot of detail and present them in a way that the bank couldn’t say no – and they didn’t!”
A year later Little Acorns was opened and since then Ann Marie has secured additional funding to substantially add to the property. In 2008 she converted the existing outbuildings to class and activity rooms, providing much needed local Day Service care facilities and in 2011 she added a new 20 metre conservatory which link attaches the new five en-suite bedroom building. The new-build also features a purpose designed dance and recording studio, cinema centre and coffee bar in the basement and brings the total beds available up to 11. Major refurbishment of the existing facilities has seen the swimming pool and spa pool enjoy a complete makeover and the stables developed into a therapeutic area where clients can participate in animal therapy.
“Our philosophy is to make sure there are lots of opportunities for our residents and day service clients to try new things, develop skills, and keep their minds and bodies active,” added Ann Marie. “We are in the process of adding a purpose built and designed kitchen for our clients so they can learn important life skills such as the importance of nutritious foods, food hygiene and preparation, cooking and baking. We also have lots of different sessions in our classrooms for them to enjoy– mosaic making is a particular favourite!”
Recently, a new avenue for Enigma Care has been to expand into the domiciliary care sector (providing personal and social care in people’s homes), which has seen the company’s ever-growing staffing levels rise to over 35 employees.
“I’m passionate about making sure my business helps the local community in lots of different ways, and creating local jobs is one way of doing this,” said Ann Marie. “As well as creating job opportunities, we’re pleased to work in partnership with many local and regional organisations to deliver the wide variety of services we provide at Little Acorns – we believe in a joined up, multi-agency approach and keeping things local.”
Since meeting Lynn Woodward six years ago, Ann Marie, along with her business partner Douglas Fell, has continued to call on Simpkins Edwards’ services to help manage a range of business tasks including payroll, tax returns, ongoing accounts and further loan applications.
“Enigma Care has grown a lot since I started the business and I’ve had help and support from Lynn’s team when making all the big decisions right from the start. I know they are only a phone call away and I really value their help whether it’s with major tasks such as business plans and bank loans, or the more day-to-day things such as making sure the wages are paid properly. It’s great to know I’ve got such a safe pair of hands to rely on.”
It may seem like Little Acorns has little room left to grow – but not so, says Ann Marie. She has ambitious plans to purchase additional land and develop an outdoor adventure area, a horticultural plot and a sensory garden, all of which will enhance the lives of the residents and clients. She is also considering looking at ways to help the residents earn money from their activities, such as selling the mosaics they make. Maybe Little Acorns will soon need to be renamed Great Oak!
For more information on Enigma Care call 01837 680157.
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