Last year, I interviewed business owner Tree Gillions about her new home support and cleaning business, Tree's Home Help. Tree told me all about her unique business and how being disabled herself inspired her to help others of all ages, whatever their disability or difficulty.
Since then, Tree has become my cleaner and a cleaner for some of my friends too. I also know a number of readers of the blog who from that blog post just a year ago, also hired Tree's services and were thrilled to have her help around the home.
Home support and helping those who need an extra pair of hands has been Tree's vision all along, but combined with ensuring her clients stay independent in their home with the help and understanding from someone who also suffers from daily challenges, just like Tree does with Cerebral Palsy.
Also, in the past year, my Grandad hired Tree's companionship services which he looked forward to every week. As a widower, he was lonely and as a stroke sufferer who lost his speech needed someone who had patience and understanding of the condition to spend time with, who was sympathetic of his difficulties and helped him with his rehabilitation. In August, after an afternoon with Tree, my Grandad sadly suffered a catastrophic stroke and later passed away. Tree was the last person to see him as his normal self and she will remain a friend of the family for the future. My Grandad thought the world of her and would be extremely proud of how her business has grown over the past year.
A year on from the last blog post, I interviewed Tree about her business, the past year, the changes, the growth and the future!
Take a read...
1. Last time we spoke on the blog, Tree's Home Help had been established for just six- months, and since then you’ve grown and grown as a business. Please tell more of what’s happened over the past year?
Tree: Yes, Tree's Home Help is now just over 18 months old, the company has surpassed any of my initial expectations. I have been able to provide support to dozens of families, some short term and others that still continue to use my services. I also work in conjunction with the local social services team to support the more vulnerable individuals within the area which I feel very privileged to be chosen to do. I was also nominated for an award last year and whilst I did not win, for me to even be recognised for what I do was amazing. The biggest change though has been employing my first disabled member of staff. It still feels so surreal that my small business idea has grown in to a company that is large enough to support not only myself and my family but also staff. This is my greatest achievement without a doubt. I am also very proud of not only being a disabled business owner, but also a disability confident employer.
2. Your cleaning services have become a huge part of your business! Why do you think there is such a need for a cleaner in this day and age?
Tree: I love the cleaning side of the company mainly because - as weird as it may seem - I genuinely love to clean and many of my clients think I’m a little bit crazy because of it! I think it's popular because people are busier than ever, to work, run a house and look after children, for example, it takes up nearly all of your time and if you then have to set to and try and clean on top of all of that can become stressful and exhausting. Having that extra help for even just a couple of hours a week makes my clients happier, less stressed and allows them to spend more time with their families, which helps everyone in the long term.
3. You recently added a member to the team is that right? Please tell us more about the process and how important it was for you to find the right person?
Tree: I did yes! Sharon (who suffers from ME) joined the company a few weeks ago, it has been a long process finding the right person, but I’m so glad I took the time to really work out what I wanted from a team member. For me, as much as I needed the person to be a thorough and meticulous cleaner, I also needed them to be approachable and understand what the company was about. Taking on anyone is hard in any job, but when you are sending someone out in your uniform to complete jobs with you or for you, it’s especially difficult as they become the face of your company. I know I made the right choice with Sharon and am so excited to see what the future holds with her on board.
4. In 2019 you decided to add a new service to your already impressive line-up. Why did you decide to offer this unique service?
Tree: I decided to add an organisation/decluttering service to the company this year because I wanted to help people get more organised and live a less stressful life. It’s so easy for life or “stuff” to pile up around you and sometimes you just need a hand to gain back control and that’s where we come in. My aim is to help people realise what they really need in their life and assist them in organising it better, it is said that if you live in an unorganised environment it can have a real impact on your emotional and mental wellbeing, so I aim to help people overcome that where I can.
Plus, now I have Sharon on the team we're also about to offer ironing as a service too, which we presume will be quite a popular addition.
5. But it’s not just cleaning and organisational services is it? Like we mentioned last year, you’re trained in so many areas to help with many forms of care. Please tell us more…
Tree: I am trained in all sorts from first aid to MAPPA to dementia care, and as the company expands more serviced will be offered. At present I am focusing on the home support side of the company as the ethos behind what I do is to promote independence within the home.
6. Last year, we worked together on your campaign ‘My Hidden Pain’ where you bravely spoke out about your journey with Cerebral Palsy and how it affects you in everyday life. How does this impact you as a business women?
Tree: I loved that campaign as I felt it really created a striking visual representation of what it is like to live with Cerebral Palsy. It’s a very difficult disability to explain, as for me it doesn’t appear all that visible externally on a daily basis. I like to think having the problems I do gives me more understanding of the difficulties that some of my client's face. It may seem strange to say, but I love my disability! Even the pain and fatigue I suffer daily makes me more determined to make my life a success and I know I have inspired others. As far as I know, I am the only disabled person who offers home support to disabled people and I love that, everyone is always shocked when I tell them I am disabled.
7. Finally, over the past two years, your business has gone from strength to strength and I couldn’t be happier for you. You’ve got so many plans and ideas for the business; can you share any with us for your plans for the future of Tree’s Home Help?
Tree: The immediate plan for Tree's Home Help is to secure a second employed member of staff. I will be expanding the company into neighbouring counties over the rest of the year. My end goal is to be able to have a Tree's Home Help serving every part of the UK with a disabled person at the helm, however I think that may be some time away yet, but I am very much looking forward to the future.
Tree's Home Help
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