WHEN Lucinda Juett and Claire Casey were delivered the news that they were going to lose their jobs as team leaders at a Peebles housing support service they were devastated.

There were both tears and fears of an uncertain future.

But it turns out redundancy was the best thing that ever happened to them. It gave the two friends the push they needed to set up their own business, Enhance Support & Care which has just celebrated its three year anniversary.

Back in January 2016 rumours of a company restructure started to circulate.

Lucinda and Claire were told team leader posts were being scrapped. Although they could apply for a project manager role, it meant they could be placed anywhere in Scotland and there was a limited number of these posts available.

“The news was heart-breaking. I came away in tears,” said Lucinda.

“To lose a job that we had both worked so hard for and been dedicated to for so many years. The relationships you build up with clients, the staff team, and the rapport we had with each other. To realise that it doesn’t matter how hard you work at the end of the day, you are in fact simply a number in a large organisation.”

The future looked bleak for the two carers who had worked together for five years.

Lucinda added: “To face the loss of your financial income and the impact this will have on your dependant family. All of the thoughts and worries run through your head.”

After being dealt the redundancy blow, on an emotional car journey home, Lucinda and Claire started discussing their options.

Lucinda explained: “We had always joked that we should work for ourselves because we worked so well together, but an off the cuff comment and the reality of it are miles apart. Over the following weeks conversations grew, and it became a ‘now or never’ decision.”

Three months later the girls waved goodbye to colleagues and clients, they were jobless.

But not for long, the dream of starting their own care business became a reality and it was the beginning of something great for the passionate carers.

“As with every new business, the chances of survival are unknown,” added Lucinda.

“We had our knowledge, sheer determination and each other for support. We accessed some Business Gateway courses, gleaned helpful information from professional friends, and used some of our redundancy money to get us started, Claire’s spare bedroom for an office and the rest we winged!”

By end of July 2016, the company had the required Care Inspectorate Registration in place and fully launched following the school summer holidays.

Lucinda said: “The first month, we had three clients and we would fight over who got to go out and work!”

But their reputation in the care industry soon spread and now, after three years, they have 25 clients that they provide direct support to seven days a week.

And they’ve moved their headquarters from the spare room in a house, to a new office at the County Buildings on Rosetta Road, Peebles.

“We have grown from only Claire and I to now having 18 fantastic employees to help us deliver personalised support services.

"We both strongly believe in looking after and respecting your employees and they will look after your business. This ensures a happy team that carries our values into their work practices.

“It has been a huge learning curve in some aspects of being an employer and running a business, but our passion for working with people has never changed. We both love meeting new clients. It’s important to both of us to be out working with clients, ensuring we know them as individuals and the support they receive empowers them and enhances their life.”

Enhance, its staff and clients held a party recently to celebrate three successful years.

Lucinda told us: “Many of our clients are not able to get out socially, so it was lovely to see so many come together and enjoy each other’s company and the musical entertainment.”

For Lucinda and Claire it marked three years of the worst of their days becoming the best.

“We are proud to be making a positive difference to so many lives. I don’t think either of us envisaged how well our business idea would do.

“It’s been and still is hard work daily, but we wouldn’t change a thing. We have fantastic clients and an amazing staff team.”

The company has just launched a new website: enhancesupportcare.com