Bluebird Care is one of the largest of home care providers in the UK with 209 franchises across the country. Bluebird Care in Lincolnshire is owned and run by J&Y Webber Services Ltd.
In 2011, John and Yvonne Webber bought the Lincolnshire territory from Bluebird Care. After having a negative experience of home care in their own family, John and Yvonne saw a gap in the market for reliable, high-quality domiciliary care.
Today, the home care provider delivers a variety of services across Lincolnshire – from Lincoln to Skegness and most places in between. The company employs 150 people.
John and Yvonne Webber remain active directors of the company today with the support of fellow director Victoria Webber.
The nature of home care is not to provide round-the-clock care, but rather to supply life-enhancing services intermittently.
J&Y Webber Services wanted to develop a way of extending an extra level of home care to those who required additional support. The aim of the company is to keep people in their own homes for as long as possible and they believe strongly that technology has a role to play in that.
In the home care industry, there is a lack of technology available to home care companies to further support their users. J&Y Webber Services wanted to test, develop and produce a piece of technology which could be worn by the service user, be used in emergency situations and ultimately save lives.
Proof of Concept Grant
The Innovation Programme awarded J&Y Webber Services a total of £2,200 for the development and testing of a medical watch to support vulnerable and elderly home care customers who don’t have 24-hour live-in care.
The watch, worn on the wrist of the user, monitors heart rate and location. It also has an SOS button and a pedometer. All of the live data is sent back to the team at Bluebird Care in real time. In the event of an emergency, the watch will alert Bluebird Care and the company can act accordingly.
The grant, which was match-funded by the company, was used to purchase 10 watch devices to enable the care provider to conduct a six-month pilot study into the effectiveness of the product. The grant also paid for a laptop to monitor the live data.
Victoria Webber, Director of J&Y Webber Services Ltd
“Through my role as a first responder for LIVES, I’ve met people who have fell over or had cardiac arrests who could have benefited from medical technology.
“Linking that in to my role at Bluebird Care, I know technology has an important role to play in supporting vulnerable and elderly adults who live on their own. There’s nothing on the market in the home care sector that bridges that gap of helping users maintain independent living at home with an added layer of safety and support.
“We are always looking for ways to develop and grow our business through innovation. The investment we received from the programme has helped us be the first home care provider to develop this sort of medically recognised technology.
“Since we started phase one, which the grant paid for, more and more home care providers are following suit which means we must be doing something right. In many respects, we’re leading industry standards in this sort of technology.
“The whole process has been very worthwhile for us and it was the Innovation Programme that sparked into life something I was really passionate about – not just for the purpose of care users, but also for us as an ambitious business.
“As expected, we’ve hit a couple of snags in phase one, but we’re continuing to develop the technology in phase two with the aim of eventually rolling it out to our customers.
“Without the grant from the programme, it would have cost us a lot more for the 10 units and the monitoring software.
“The whole team at the Innovation Programme has been very supportive throughout the process. They helped us understand all the different aspects of the programme and advised accordingly.
“I hope more businesses are able to take advantage of the programme to enable further growth in their business.”