£10m boost and over 100 jobs as healthcare firm sets up HQ

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A NATIONWIDE homecare firm has chosen Sheffield to be the home of its new headquarters in a £10.4m investment that will create more than 100 jobs in the city.

Ark Home Healthcare, which provides care and other domestic services supporting thousands of older people living in their own homes across the country, is to open a 7,000 sq ft office in The Square, in Castlegate.

Sheffield City Council said the move showed the city was now “a business destination of choice”.

The company expects to recruit as many as 103 people for roles across a range of areas including finance, human resources, IT, planning and customer services and is already considering further growth.

Ark is receiving £500,000 from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to help meet the costs of the move.

Making the announcement, Mark Lavery, Ark’s chief executive, praised the “first-class” support his company had received from Creative Sheffield, the city council’s economic development arm, during the decision-making process.

“We spent some considerable time evaluating our options when it came to sourcing the location for our new state-of-the-art operational control centre and head office,” Mr Lavery said.

“There were a number of proposals on the table, but the consultative assistance we received from Creative Sheffield, together with their greatly-appreciated financial support for our enterprise, made a move to South Yorkshire a very straightforward commercial decision at the end of the day.”

He said the prime grade A office space that the firm will occupy also offers options for future expansion of the company’s operations in the city.

Mr Lavery said that as part of the move to Sheffield, Ark would be introducing new ways of working in a sector that urgently needs to respond to the challenges associated with the UK’s rapidly increasing population of elderly people.

He added: “By setting up a customer response centre to control our operational activity across the country, we are introducing something entirely new in the way both care at home and healthcare at home are delivered and managed in the UK.”

Mr Lavery said the decision to locate in Sheffield was based on more than financial reasons. “It is the particularly friendly and approachable nature of South Yorkshire people that has led us to conclude Sheffield is the ideal 
location for what we have planned.

“We are proud to be relocating the administrative side of our company to Sheffield and we know South Yorkshire will prove an excellent base from which to develop our business.”

The announcement by Ark Home Healthcare is the second significant vote of confidence in Sheffield in a week.

The Government confirmed on Monday that its new Business Bank which is designed to help support small businesses will be headquartered in the city.

Sheffield City Council yesterday hailed Ark’s decision as an endorsement of the area’s expertise in the healthcare sector.

Coun Leigh Bramall, the council’s cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “Ark’s recognition that Sheffield is a great city in which they can achieve their ambitious growth sends a clear message that we 
are a business destination of choice.

“Healthcare technologies is a key sector for Sheffield and it is great news that Ark will be joining the world leading healthcare and medical businesses that are based here in Sheffield.

“The work that we do with local, national and international businesses, supporting our local economy and attracting investment to the city is key to our aim to become the most business friendly city in the UK.”

Ark delivers services for 38 councils and seven primary care trusts across the country delivering 28,000 hours of care every week.

ben.barnett@ypn.co.uk