Suffolk: Second successful year for social care co-operative Leading Lives

The newly-elected Leading Lives board, including its new chair, Lucy Humphrey, second from right in

The newly-elected Leading Lives board, including its new chair, Lucy Humphrey, second from right in the front row. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk-based social care provider Leading Lives has elected a new board of employee directors at its second annual general meeting.

The newly elected directors, who include a number of front line staff, will serve on the board for 12 months.

Leading Lives, a member of the EADT’s Suffolk Future50 listing of up-and-coming businesses with high growth potential, provides a range of support for 1,200 adults with learning disabilities across Suffolk.

It is a social enterprise structured as an employee owned co-operative, one of the new generation of mutual businesses created through local authority divestment.

A trading surplus for a second consecutive year was announced at the annual general meeting and members heard how this will be used to develop the enterprise.

Significant savings have been achieved through a 58% reduction in sickness absence, greater staff retention and the introduction of more efficient IT systems and new back office support.

The business has also established and grown a new domiciliary care service and won new supported living contracts. Increasing the domiciliary care service will be a priority for the next trading year and will benefit from increased investment to build the business.

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Tony Carr, Leading Lives’ managing director, said: “Last year was about establishing the business and this year has been all about consolidation through gaining new contracts and customers, establishing ourselves in the domiciliary support market and making our enterprise more efficient.

“It has also been about embedding our culture as an employee owned business with over 70% of staff now signed up as shareholder members. This really does give us an extra dimension as the people who are closest to our customers have real input into our strategic direction.”