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The Care Quality Commission rates Helping Hands of Harrogate Limited as Outstanding

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found the quality of care provided by Helping Hands of Harrogate Limited, Knaresborough to be Outstanding following an inspection in May 2016.

Helping Hands of Harrogate Limited is a care agency providing personal care and support for children, young people and adults with a range of disabilities and complex health care needs. It provides services across North and West Yorkshire and the surrounding areas and at the time of our inspection the service was providing care and support for 49 people between eight months of age and 40 years old.

The service has been rated Outstanding for being safe and caring, and was rated as Good for being effective, responsive and well-led. Helping Hands of Harrogate Limited was rated as Outstanding overall.

A full report of the inspection is available at:

The business was setup in 2010 by husband and wife team, Chris and Rebecca Blunstone.

Chris was previously a care assistant at Martin House Hospice, for over 10 years. That is where Chris developed a passion for true continuity of care and looking after people with low level needs at home.

A seed of an idea was set when families suggested that he setup his own care business. That business was formed with his wife Rebecca. Chris takes the lead on care while Rebecca leads on the business management and administration.

The business has now grown to provide home care for children and young adults. The care they provide is at the most specialist of home care, both in behavioural care and medical care.


Chris  said:

We work as the link between people coming from a hospital setting, helping them to return as normal a life as possible.

This can be helping following a life changing event, such as a car accident, allowing them to live at home but with support.

Parents also need to be confident in who cares for their children and that is something we work hard at.



Talking about the business, Rebecca said:

The business has grown steadily over the years and that is something we have managed to do with a positive cash flow without a need for business loans.

We build a specific care plan for each person and often recruit people that we feel would work in the best way with them. That means that sometimes it can take a little longer to get the support in place, but we want to get it right first time. We are often working with people who don’t handle change well and it’s important to keep continuity.


The company has worked to the ethos that the business is not just an agency, but a care company, aiming to give a good experience of care and being nurse-led.


Chris added:

We believe that it is possible to have all the policies and procedures in place, but if you don’t care, what’s the point.

Gaining accreditation is a great testament to the team that all work with a common belief.



Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care in the North, said:

This is a great service and there are many examples of outstanding practice clearly helping to deliver an excellent person-centred service.

We were very impressed with the lengths this service went to in involving people using the service in decisions about their care. Forward thinking initiatives such as getting them involved in recruiting the staff that will care for them ensures that their specialist needs are met, as well as ensuring their carers reflected their own interests, background and beliefs.

This is a real achievement for the whole team at Helping Hands of Harrogate Limited, and a great example of what Outstanding care should look like.

It was clear that Helping Hands of Harrogate placed the children, young people and adults who used the service at the heart of the care they received. Inspectors noted the service didn’t restrict people’s interests and encouraged them to try new things. For example, CQC heard examples of opportunities that had been created for children with complex health needs to go swimming, to attend school clubs and to dip their toes in the sea. Somebody else was also helped into their first experience of employment, which was a real dream of theirs.

It was also impressive to see Helping Hands of Harrogate actively involving people who used the service and their families in the recruitment process and also in staff training. Because care workers were recruited and trained to meet people’s specific care needs we saw that care teams were highly reflective of the shared interests, backgrounds and beliefs of the people who they supported. This helped to contribute to the culture of the service, which inspectors saw was positive, person centred, inclusive and forward thinking.

Inspectors spoke with a range of people who used the service including families, professionals and staff who all felt this was an excellent service.  People described a confident and resourceful staff team who respected individual’s dignity, privacy, views and choices.

In their feedback people particularly highlighted the quality of their relationships with their care team and they told us they valued the continuity of their care and the reassurance this provided.

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