Lifetime achievement award for the woman who mortgaged her home to set up her company as a single mum 20 years ago

L to R Falklands veteran Simon Weston CBE, Karen Finch and Lord Chris Rennard MBE

L to R Falklands veteran Simon Weston CBE, Karen Finch and Lord Chris Rennard MBE - Credit: Archant

The founder and managing director of one of East Anglia’s leading hearing care companies has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award by one of the UK’s leading health governing bodies.

Karen Finch, owner of local, family-run business The Hearing Care Centre, was presented with the award for her work in the audiology profession, at the British Health Trades Association (BHTA) Excellence Awards - an annual celebration of success in the healthcare marketplace.

This award comes at a pivotal point for Ms Finch, because this year marks the 20th anniversary of The Hearing Care Centre. From humble beginnings in 1998, Karen now employs a team of almost 30 employees and provides top level hearing care from a network of 26 centres across Suffolk.

The company was founded by Ms Finch in 1988, when she quit her job as an audiologist to establish company in Ipswich “to provide local, holistic, ethical hearing care”.

“I was a single mum with two small boys and had to mortgage the family home to fund the venture,” she said. “I had to fight every step of the way in what was a care sector dominated by men.”

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Karen was commended by the BHTA for her dedication to the high quality of her team and investment in the people that she works with, allowing them to develop their own careers, and helping all of them to make a success of the business.

Ms Finch was also recognised for the work she does in the local community to promote hearing health, and the company’s fundraising for charities including Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

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Ms Finch was overcome with emotion when she was presented with the award: “As I think of other Lifetime Achievements recipients who preceded me, and the impact they’ve had in their health organisations and in the wider community, I am very grateful to rank among them. But I do hope they don’t think I have achieved everything I want to achieve – I’m not ready to go home and retire. I’m not done yet!”

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