County Durham Growth Fund case study: AAA Caring Caretaker

A fast-growing cleaning services company is to create 10 new jobs as part of a move to bigger offices to support its long-term growth plans.

AAA Caring Caretaker, known as The Caring Caretaker, has been based at Aycliffe Business Park since it was set up by Richard Tucker in 2015.

However, the family business had undergone a period of significant growth and Richard was keen to find larger premises to support continued expansion and to house the additional staff that he needs to recruit.

He identified a 0.8-acre site at Bowburn Industrial Estate North, which was perfect for his ambitious plans.

Having worked with Business Durham in the past, through the Routes to Contract Success programme which is led by the Durham Business Opportunities Programme team, Richard was made aware of the County Durham Growth Fund and subsequently made an application for grant support.

The Caring Caretaker was awarded £100,000 from the fund towards the relocation to Bowburn.

Richard, who was awarded an MBE for his services to business, the armed forces, charities and for supporting people with disabilities or mental health conditions into secure employment, said: “We now need not only office space but importantly the storage facilities to accommodate our increased diversification.

“Alongside the cleaning and caretaker services the business offers, we also source and distribute PPE equipment for the NHS and on the back of the Covid pandemic, that side of the business has grown massively.

“The facility we’re going to be creating at Bowburn will enable us to develop office space for the growing team, which will include 10 new personnel who we’ll be recruiting as part of the County Durham Growth Fund project, alongside warehousing space and land left over to further develop as the business grows.

“We’re also renting out some of the office space to a tenant we’re lining up which gives us another revenue stream.”

The Caring Caretaker provides cleaning and caretaker services to companies and organisations across the North East and Yorkshire, including the NHS, PD Ports, Hartlepool Marina, Esh Housing, and the MOD.

Currently, the business employs 41 people including 17 ex-armed forces personnel, nine of which have unseen disabilities.

The County Durham Growth Fund is managed by Business Durham in partnership with UMi and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). All successful grant applications are appraised by UNW LLP, an independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisers.

Sarah Slaven, Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “The Caring Caretaker is a company that’s grown from one to a team of 41 and is now, with grant support from the County Durham Growth Fund, in the process of taking its business journey to the next stage, moving to much larger premises and creating a further 10 jobs, cementing its long-term future here in County Durham.”

The Caring Caretaker has secured a number of accreditations and awards since it launched, including IS0 9001 and is working towards ISO 14001 and 4,501 standards; the MoD Employer’s Accreditation Scheme, Gold standard; and was the winner of the London Stock Exchange category for Business Growth at the Armed Forces “Soldiering on Awards” 2021.

It has also secured the Disability Committed employer status, Level 2, and is in the process of going for Level 3 status, of which there are only around 50 companies in the UK that have been awarded the status.

Simon Allen, investment centre director at UMI, added: “The Caring Caretaker is a real success story here in County Durham and it’s also wonderful to see a growing company like them taking the opportunity to employ ex-military veterans, which without the support of someone like Richard might otherwise struggle to find or sustain employment.”

Neville Bearpark, UNW’s Head of Grant Support Services, said: “The County Durham Growth Fund is here to support ambitious companies like The Caring Caretaker and help facilitate their development. It’s superb to see a business grow from the ground up and expand to meet demand, bringing with it job creation and extra revenue streams.”