SHORTLY before Graeme Lee’s mother died, he made a promise which has formed the bedrock for a flourishing Yorkshire business.
Yorkshire-based Springfield Healthcare is on course to deliver a 25 per cent increase in turnover to £40m this year, as it prepares to expand its business empire.
The group, which owns and manages five care homes and employs 1,400 people across Yorkshire and the North East, is poised for further growth after securing investment. This summer will see Springfield open its sixth care home in Harrogate. A seventh will open in Beverley in March 2022 followed by an eighth in 2023.
The first Springfield care home was opened in 1967 by Albert and Andrea Lee, the parents of Graeme Lee, who is the group CEO of Springfield Healthcare Group. They had wanted to care for elderly people in the best way possible.
Mr Lee said: “Just before my mum passed away, I promised her I would take care of the family and that meant not just my dad and sisters but Springfield’s staff and residents too.
“I grew up in our very first care home in Leeds, living there from two years old until I was 17. I learnt a lot about elderly people, especially around the challenges in delivering high-quality care, tailored to each resident. My mum always told me to be kind to people and it’s that ethos that has shaped my life and the growth of Springfield.”
When Mr Lee’s mother died in 1994, his father, who looked after Springfield’s accounts and operations retired and Graeme took the reins. He was determined to demonstrate that elderly care, whether in private homes or a care home, does not have to be seen as the last resort.
He developed what he calls a ‘holistic care pathway’. This starts with Springfield’s homecare provision, which helps people stay in their own home for as long as possible. Then, when the time is right, they move into a care home or one of Springfield’s larger care facilities, a care village.
“I set about changing the perception of how people see elderly care,” said Mr Lee. “I wanted to show how care homes in particular can be amazing, innovative environments that provide the very best of care.
“At Springfield, it’s all about going above and beyond, just as I witnessed my parents doing when growing up. We’re one big family at Springfield where caring for each other – whether you’re an employee, a resident or a resident’s family member – comes first.”
In 1994, Springfield Healthcare was a single 30-bed care home in Leeds. Mr Lee renovated the home, creating a 70-bed modern care environment. Today, the group has sites across Yorkshire with homes in Ilkley, Leeds and York, including two care villages. Added to this is Springfield’s homecare provision, employing a further 800 people and providing care services across Yorkshire and north east of England.
Springfield’s growth was supported through investment from The Business Growth Fund (BGF), an independent investment company which has invested more than £2.5bn supporting earlier stage and established private businesses, and smaller listed companies.
James Nightingale, a corporate partner at Ward Hadaway and the lead partner for its Care Homes team, said: “We’ve worked closely with Springfield Healthcare for many years, supporting Graeme and the team through several acquisitions and BGF investments, as well as advising across various operational matters.
“Graeme’s story demonstrates the importance of empathy and compassion in growth and success. Everything he does is centred around the residents and employees of Springfield.”
"He ensures his entire workforce and residents are given the highest quality of care. He’s a leader with a strong purpose and with this purpose comes resilience, innovation and kindness - all qualities that make Springfield the thriving, prospering business it is today.”
By next year Springfield will have 550 care beds alongside a growing home and live-in care service.
Mr Lee added: “ My people, my residents, they’re part of my family and the most valuable facet of the business. With Springfield, my purpose is to do my best and go the extra mile. I’m inspired to make a difference to the lives of elderly people. Their needs, as well as those of my employees, come first - just as I promised my mum they would.”