Driving Miss Daisy, a firm which provides specialised transport and companionship services for elderly and disabled people, is to launch nationwide.
The firm is to embark on rapid expansion plans following the success of its Keighley franchise which has provided transport and companionship to people across Yorkshire.
Huddersfield-born founder Greg Blezard is now planning to expand the service throughout the country.
To speed up the growth of his 30-strong Driving Miss Daisy UK franchise operation, Mr Blezard has launched a nationwide Directly Managed operation.
“With the extra resources provided by our new Direct Managed company we will be able to increase this already impressive speed of area expansion throughout the country,” he said.
Mr Blezard said that demand for specialised transportation and companion services for elderly and disabled people is growing at such a rapid rate that the Driving Miss Daisy UK Master License Holder has launched this directly managed company to deliver Driving Miss Daisy services where no franchise currently exists.
This service will be delivered under the Driving Miss Daisy brand, but managed by a wholly owned subsidiary company called B3 Passenger Care.
Mr Blezard, the group’s chief executive, said: “The demand for our services has reached such a level, that it can no longer be fulfilled by a purely franchised business model.
“That’s why we have launched B3. To efficiently control both of these companies we have also developed a BETA tested proprietary software system.
“With 18.2 per cent of the UK population aged over 65, and in excess of 12 million people living with a disability, we are very confident of strong and continuous future growth.”
Mr Blezard said Driving Miss Daisy offers a caring companionship and transportation service using specialised vehicles operated and driven by highly qualified drivers.
He said that all companion drivers are trained and equipped to enable people living with physical or mental disabilities or a range of chronic conditions to live their lives to the fullest extent possible.
Each companion driver undergoes training and qualification in private hire driving, handling and management of wheelchair operations, emergency first aid, coping with dementia, working with the visually impaired and risk management.
It is also developing a new range of specialist training courses, targeting niche areas within the NHS and associated markets. These include Kidney Dialysis Champions and Friends, Diabetes Champions and Friends, Cardio Vascular Disease Champions and Friends, Stroke Champions and Friends and Oncology Champions and Friends.
The company’s name was inspired by the 1989 hit film Driving Miss Daisy. The film tells the story of an independent, 72-year-old Jewish woman who can no longer get car insurance after a driving accident.
She initially resists change, but her son hires a resourceful, 60-year-old, African-American driver named Hoke. After a rocky start the pair build a relationship that blossoms into a firm friendship, transforming Miss Daisy’s life.
In 2016 the firm obtained the rights to operate the Driving Miss Daisy brand in the UK under a 50 year licence from the New Zealand-based company that devised the concept. It now has over 30 UK franchisees and over 55,000 bookings a year with a value of over £1.2m.