Tide carries Olympian Christina Bassadone’s Guardian Angel Carers further along the South Coast in 2017!
Just 5 years ago, as Great Britain was in the height of patriotic celebration, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games taking centre stage, Guardian Angel Carers was carefully setting about changing the way care is delivered to the elderly residents of Chichester. Founded by our very own Olympian and World Champion sailor, Christina Bassadone.
5 years later and having grown the business from 2 carers (or CareAngels as they like to be known!) to 130 and winning 2 awards at the local Observer Business Awards in March, Guardian Angel Carers are looking forward to providing high quality care to even more clients across the South Coast. We had the opportunity to sit down with Christina and quiz her on her Olympic days and what is next for the Entrepeneur.
For those who do not know, what was it that made you leave your Olympic days behind and start Guardian Angel Carers?
I always knew I wanted to start my own business, coming from a somewhat entrepreneurial family. However, I had planned to continue Olympic sailing until after the London 2012 Olympic Games, after all who wouldn’t want to compete in their home country! Just 3 weeks after returning from Beijing my sailing partner decided she no longer wanted to sail with me, and a few days later my Father died. I was devastated, lost, grief stricken and let’s be honest…depressed. It took me some time to pick myself up from an all time low, this was no place to start an Olympic campaign…in fact id recession with limited job opportunities and low self esteem I started cleaning, and this was the start of Task Angels, which later grew into Guardian Angel Carers.
If you could visit yourself in 2012, what advice would you give to yourself?
It was hard watching my old team mates competing in London 2012, knowing that I could’ve been there. Especially as it was finally a venue with the windy conditions that I excelled in. I knew in my heart I’d made the right decision quitting Olympic sailing, but during the 2012 Olympics Guardian Angel Carers was just a few months in, I was doing much of the care work, working around the clock, not making money yet and the end goal wasn’t within reach… At the time, I think I would have told myself to be patient. Shortly after London 2012 I got engaged, married in 2013, our first child in 2015, our second child just last month and a team of 10 office staff and over 100 cleaners and carers by 2016 – all in the time of one Olympic cycle. Patience, all in good time!
Congratulations on the birth of your second daughter. A working mother as well as embarking on ambitious expansion plans for Guardian Angel Carers, how do you manage your time? What is the single tool you could not work without?
I certainly would not call him a tool(!) but the one person I could not work without is my husband. I am one very lucky lady to have such a loving and supportive husband. In fact, he’s taking 6 months shared parental leave to help me at home, and give me the flexibility to work as is needed. Next year he’ll qualify as a GP and has had some gruelling hospital shifts and long hours studying for exams too, but we both decided the time we spend as family in the early months of our children’s lives is invaluable.
Managing time is about prioritising what’s important, looking after yourself – ensuring you get 8 hours sleep and eat properly to have the energy to always fire on all four cylinders – and finally managing expectations of the people in your life and to be fair on them. I work over 40 hours a week crammed into 4 days, yet my one day off during the week is special Mummy and daughter time, and I don’t try to juggle our time, it’s all about us having fun, quality time together.
How did training & competing in the Olympics prepare you for running a business? What lessons do you apply daily at the office?
Work ethic – when you’re competing in Olympic sport you live, breath, eat and sleep for achieving all that you can achieve in your sport. This is the same in business. And, to me it doesn’t feel like work. I put my daughters to bed, have dinner with my husband and don’t think twice about opening up the laptop to continue my day of work. In terms of lessons in the office, I would say I’m always looking for us to be the best we can be, and always moving forward, never sitting back…if you do your competitors will soon catch up!
We have to ask! Will you make a come back to competitive sailing?
No. I love my family too much to put them and me through all that time away training and selfish (perhaps even selfless) focus needed to be the best. That lifestyle doesn’t make me happy. Caring for others, showing compassion, kindness and helping others to be all that they can be are things that make me happy. Although, I look forward to nothing more than a sunny cruise on the water, and can’t wait to teach my daughters how to sail.
What has been your most memorable moment as Managing director of Guardian Angel Carers?
It’s not often you get recognised for your achievements in business, in fact it’s very different to sport where if you perform well you are recognised with a medal ceremony and press coverage after each major event. We recently attended the Observer and Gazette business awards, and whilst our marketing team had nominated us for a couple of the individual awards, we certainly had not expected to come away having won the Overall Business Award. This was a really special moment for myself and the team to be recognised for all that we’ve achieved, and more importantly our contribution to the local community. I felt truly honoured.
5 years down, Happy Birthday! Where will GAC be in 5 years time?
Good question, well not the same as it is now, as I don’t believe in sitting still. I would like to see the growth of our Live In Care service, and another 2-5 branches across the south coast, but watch this space.
The team are excited to announce their Worthing Branch is now open. Based in Goring By Sea, with 97% of people wishing to remain in the comfort of their own home, as opposed to moving to a care home, Guardian Angel Carers will help to make this a reality.
With the new Worthing branch, Guardian Angel Carers have extended their reach across the South Coast, to now cover Emsworth all the way through to Brighton. They can provide as much care as is required (from as little as 30 minutes), including overnight and live in care. They specialise in care of the elderly, in particular those suffering with dementia, frailty and life limiting conditions.
With over 60% of new enquiries generated from referrals, and a fantastic local reputation, it is clear the level of qualification and compassion of all CareAngels is championed by everyone they come in contact with.
To find out more about Guardian Angel Carers, the services they provide, or to start your own CareAngel Career visit www.gacarers.co.uk or call their Chichester office today on 01903 389098.