In 1980 an advertisement in a Norfolk newspaper was seeking the services of a cook who, every day for a fortnight, would come to a caravan site in the County to prepare a main meal for two elderly ladies who were going to spend a holiday in the area.
At this time, Angela Gifford, was working part time for a national bank but could not get the advertisement out of her mind. She did not want to become the cook for a fortnight but her thoughts strayed to the fact that there may be other people who had similar domestic needs and therefore did some research as to whether any organisation was providing such a service.
Angela sent 100 hand written letters to organisations such as Norwich City Football Club, local theatres and cinemas, restaurants and cafes, asking how they carried out their domestic cleaning, where did they get their cooks, etc., from? Did they employ their staff or use an agency?
The response was that there was no local domestic agency and they had to recruit themselves and they would be interested if a domestic employment agency came into being.
In September 1980 Able Domestic Employment Agency (ADEA) was launched with the intention to supply any person from a cleaner to a butler, a babysitter to a waitress.
However, in the first few months the largest number of telephone calls that came in were enquiring as to whether ADEA were able to provide care for an older parent or for a person who was disabled and needed help in their home.
The enquirers were not looking for a couple of hours a week, but were seeking to find a service that would provide domestic, personal and social care and eliminate the risk of the older or disabled person living on their own.
After some thought, the idea of a continuous, live-in housekeeper/carer scheme was born and the company made the offer of providing such a service on a fortnightly, rotational basis to an elderly gentleman in Essex, an elderly lady in Suffolk and an elderly couple in Norfolk.
The promise was that if Angela was not able to find a suitable person, she would come and provide the fortnights cover herself.
During these first three months Able Domestic Employment Agency was able to cover these first, three people without a break in service and from then on, Able Domestic Employment Agency, now Able Community Care, has never provided any other service other than the provision of continuous live-in care staff on a long term basis or the provision of short term, live-in respite care.
The live-in carer service now operates throughout mainland UK and the Channel Islands. Since 1980 Angela and her staff have enabled thousands of elderly and disabled people to have the choice to remain living in their own home and community.
Thirty five years later Able Community Care is still owned and managed by Angela Gifford and although during the thirty five years since the first live-in carer moved into an older gentleman's home for a fortnight, legislation has changed the care industry out of all recognition, the choice to remain in your own home is the one the majority of us still want.