Name: Lynn Laughland.

Age: 58.

What is your business called?

HRM Homecare.

Where is it based?

Kilmarnock with offices in Falkirk, Coatbridge and Glasgow.

What services does it offer?

We are one of the country’s largest care specialists providing home care support to older people, children and families, people with disabilities and vulnerable people across central and west Scotland.

To whom does it sell?

Local authorities throughout Scotland, as well as individuals who wish to privately purchase care and support services.

What is its turnover?

£6 million.

How many employees does it have?


When was it formed?

I started HRM Homecare in 1994, from my living room in Prestwick, and named the business after my three children Heather, Russell and Mhairi.

Why did you take the plunge?

I realised that I was ambitious, driven and motivated so my best future was in running my own business, as firstly it offered me the ideal way of combining work with the need to support my three young children, who were all under the age of five at the time. I chose care at home after spotting a gap in the market when helping a neighbour in need of personal support, and thanks to my mum Jean who told me that the care industry was about to undergo a major change and outsource some of its services to independent operators.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I worked as a college lecturer at Ayr College and Central College of Commerce teaching students about science, social care and hospitality. I had actually graduated in Applied Biology from Glasgow Caledonian University and qualified as a Medical Scientist, however, I had always been a ‘people person’ and had previously considered a career in care.

How did you raise the start up funding?

Initially I continued employment as a college lecturer then applied for the business start-up grant of £40 per week to provide me with some level of income. In starting the business I also had to consider childcare arrangements for my three children who at that time where aged five, four and one, so I set up an after school care service at the primary school my son attended. It was tough building a business and balance the responsibilities of being a mum. However, looking back I am proud that I managed to achieve business growth and successfully bring up three great kids. Eventually I won enough contracts to take on staff, but I cut costs by continuing to work from my living room in the first two years of the business.

What was your biggest break?

Opening my first office in Prestwick. To me it symbolised things getting real when it came to running a business.

What was your worst moment?

With the pressure that the care industry has been under over the years and in particular during the Covid-19 pandemic it has been a very challenging time for all involved, not just in Scotland but indeed across the UK and beyond.

Covid-19 presented great challenges to all care providers however, having qualified in 1986 in medical microbiology, I reacted quickly to the risks and events as they unfolded in the care sector. We had to move quickly to introduce digital technologies and platforms that enabled us to continue to deliver care supports and we had to find innovative ways to offer support to frontline care staff who had to continue to provide essential care services.

One example is the introduction of an app by HRM Homecare tailored so staff can both input and access information in real-time on their work phones remotely.

This app can be used on every client visit, negating the need for paper and pens and limiting the touching of shared items within every client’s home.

It allows carers instant access to staff information digitally, for instance their rotas, and to provide the opportunity for instant feedback to support teams.

The app can also be accessed by family members so they can view care visits happening in real time – something which they found invaluable during lockdown when they were unable to visit their loved ones face-to-face.

Covid-19 also focused us to examine in detail the quality-driven procedures right across the business, so HRM Homecare had the highest standard of care.

Part of that process involved working towards attaining the world’s most recognised quality management standard, ISO 9001: 2015.

A two-day external verification process took place in October, and the certificate of verification was issued in the November.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I love putting the analytical skills that I learned in science to good use in running a business. I find they are needed every day. I also very much enjoy battling for women in business. The care and care at home sector has provided many women, myself included, with the opportunity to be entrepreneurial, create and grow businesses.

What is your biggest bugbear?

People forget, or simply don’t know, that the social care sector is the fourth major economic contributor to Scotland, higher than agriculture, forestry and fishing and the arts and entertainment. Many areas of Scotland – particularly in rural regions – have a rapidly ageing population. Now is the time for a bold investment in the care at home workforce.

Hopefully investment in the creation of a National Care Service in Scotland will help improve funding across the sector, raising the importance of fair work, fair commissioning and increased pay for all social care workers. If we invest in social care. we can provide much needed care and support to people in local communities whilst generating thousands of well-paying jobs that can revitalise local economies, while fulfilling the fast growing demand for high quality person-centred care at home services.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Focus more on care being an economic driver for change. I firmly believe that Scotland can be a ‘world leader’ in high-quality care, particularly with the advent of a National Care Service.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

To achieve your ambitions by surrounding yourself with the most innovative and outstanding colleagues you can in your business, to build collaborative partnerships with clients who share your vision of supporting people’s current and future needs through a lens of innovation, and by embracing the latest technology.

How do you relax?

I love reading and having a glass of wine in my garden, my outdoor fire pit blazing brightly and my favourite music playing in the background.