Member of the Week - Parklands Care Homes
Parklands is one of the largest independent care groups in the north of Scotland, with eight care homes in Moray and Highland. The business was formed in 1993 by Ron Taylor who has overseen its growth over the past 25 years.
Ron Taylor is the managing director of Parklands. As a young carer for his grandfather in Buckie he grew frustrated at the lack of care facilities for older people in the town. In 1993 he established Parklands and, with support from a group of local GPs, the company opened its first care home in Buckie. A year later, he acquired the business in full and has been instrumental in its growth. Ron is a well known figure in the Moray and Highland business community. He served as President of Moray Chamber of Commerce for five years and as a director of the Chamber for 17 years. Parklands is also an active member of Inverness Chamber of Commerce. Under his stewardship, the company has grown from a single care home to a business with eight care homes, two more in the pipeline, and a workforce of around 600 people, largely drawn from small communities across Moray and the Highlands. As the company has grown, Ron Taylor has delegated more responsibility to individual care home managers and is supported by a professional and long serving management team. However, he remains very much hands on, regularly meeting staff on a one to one basis, setting the future direction of the company and ensuring it remains true to its founding principle of ‘people first.’
Parklands is embarking on a major phase of expansion with a new care home currently under construction in Fortrose and work on a new care hub in Inverness due to begin in a matter of months. When the new homes open in 2020/21, the Parklands workforce will increase to approximately 800, making it one of the largest private sector employers in north of Scotland. Around 200 new jobs will be created as a result of our expansion; as such, recruitment will be a key focus for Parklands over the next two years.
We want to challenge perceptions about working in the care sector, which is typically seen as low paid and low skill. For those reasons, the sector has traditionally not been a popular career choice for school leavers, but Parklands is determined to change attitudes by stressing the diversity of careers it provides and the opportunities young people have to train, develop new skills and progress through the business. Five of our current managers jointed the organisation more than ten years ago in more junior roles and our operations director joined us over 20 years ago as an invoice clerk. At Parklands we don’t offer jobs, we offer careers with long term prospects.
We also want to shed light on what it’s like to live in a care home. The perception is often that of a drab, lifeless environment but nothing could be further from the truth. Our care homes are full of life and our residents extremely active – from arts and crafts to walking trips, bingo and quiz nights, visits to the theatre and even dementia friendly discos. Our homes are also closely integrated into the local community and we regularly welcome local nurseries, musicians and charities like Highland Cycle Ability Centre.
As highlighted, recruitment is a key priority for Parklands as the company continues to grow. We expect to create around 200 new jobs in Highland over the next two years which represents a tremendous boost for the local economy. We offer flexible working conditions, competitive salaries - typically above those on offer in the public sector - and the opportunity to work in a supportive, friendly environment. By continuing to invest in training and professional development, Parklands hopes to encourage the next generation of care professionals to train, work and live in the Highlands, thus ensuring our best talent is retained.
In 2018, Parklands acquired Aberlour Pharmacy, a long running community business. The acquisition was a good fit for Parklands; as well as serving the local community it provides pharmaceuticals for Parklands eight care homes. We recently launched a mobile delivery service for outlying areas and we have created new full time jobs in the village as we have expanded the business. This year we hope to begin work on the construction of a new purpose built pharmacy in the village.
Over the next two years, Parklands will invest around £16 million in the Highlands and Moray. In May 2019, work began on a new £5.5 million care home in Fortrose, a significant investment in a region that currently has no residential care provision for older people. Later this year we will begin development of a new £9.5 million care hub in Inverness, our biggest ever investment. The new development will include a care home, assisted living suites and a day nursery for children – the first nursery of its kind in a new built Highland care home.
As discussed, Parklands is currently awaiting planning consent for a new purpose built community pharmacy in Aberlour. The new facility will enable Parklands to further expand the business. Later this year, the company will relocate from Buckie to a new headquarters in Grantown. The move is necessary to accommodate the company’s growing corporate team.
Longer term, Parklands is actively considering new locations for further expansion, including Aberdeenshire. The north of Scotland has a high proportion of people over 75 but the provision of care has not kept pace with population growth. We are confident that we can continue to grow the business to meet this demand, while retaining the same focus on high quality service that has become our hallmark over the past 25 years.
Ron Taylor was shortlisted as Highland Business Leader of the Year in 2018. In December 2018, the Business Growth Fund (BGF) announced a substantial investment in Parklands to accelerate our growth, its first investment in the Highlands and Moray. BGF is the UK’s most active investor in growing businesses and its investment in Parklands represents a significant vote of confidence in the company and its ambitious growth plans.
Ron told ICC what he values most about Inverness Chamber Membership: “The Chamber is run by a very professional team who work hard to raise the profile of the city and businesses. We particularly appreciate the public support of Stewart Nicol and his willingness to lobby on behalf of members.”
Ron provided his top-tip for making the most of your chamber membership: “The Chamber is a great way to promote your business so take advantage of its many networking events and promotional channels, especially the free ones! Also, get to know the Chamber team early on; they’re always happy to help.”