Enterprising journey from waitress to carer

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When an old classmate’s mother asked Shonagh Milne to care for an elderly family member, little did the 21-year-old from Peebles realise it would lead to the launch of her own personal care business.

Now, having set up Shonagh’s Care with the help of advice from Business Gateway Scottish Borders, the enterprising youngster is working with three families, providing tailored one-to-one care to both the elderly and those with additional needs.

“My mum was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she was just 27 so my brother and I have always looked after her,” recalled Shonagh.

“You could say that caring has become second nature to me and mum showed me how helping with even the smallest of things can make a person feel so much better about themselves and their situation.

“When I left school I had no desire to go into further education so took a job in a care home before I went travelling to Australia.

“Even on my travels I worked in care, spending five months at a care home in Melbourne. When I returned I secured a waitressing job and then got the call from my schoolfriend’s mother.

“I initially provided care for her father around my day-job. The family were so pleased with my services they kept suggesting I set up my own business. Their confidence gave me the push I needed.

“I’d never set up a business before so went to Business Gateway to find out how to run one and deal with things like tax returns. The workshops were brilliant as they highlighted what I needed to know but also let me talk to others about my idea, and their input was valuable too.

“My adviser suggested things I didn’t realise I needed to think about like changing my car insurance to reflect the fact I’d be using my car for work.

“She also suggested business cards which have been helpful. It’s the little things that would catch you out that they make you think about.”

Offering services that include 24-hour respite care, shopping, cleaning, food preparation and assistance with personal care, Shonagh is looking to double her client base over the coming months by expanding the area she covers to include towns and villages within a 20-mile radius of Peebles.

“As an independent carer, I can organise my timetable so each client gets the time and attention I feel they deserve,” said Shonagh.

“Seeing people smile after you’ve helped them get dressed or prepared them a meal, makes me realise how lucky I am to be doing what I do.”

For more information about Shonagh’s Care, call 07477376447.