Karen Breyley’s Inspiring 5-Year Journey with Friends Helping at Home

Take a look at Karen Breyley’s incredible story from her humble beginnings with FHAH.

Karen Breyley, Director of Torbay, has been an integral part of Friends Helping at Home since its inception, contributing to the company’s success over the past five years. Being one of the pioneers in the organisation, Karen’s hard work and dedication have made a significant impact on the company’s growth.

Karen’s Story

My 5-year journey with FHAH began when I stumbled upon an advert on Indeed and decided to apply.

Setting up the business

On Day 1, I had an informal chat with Andrew, who shared his vision of starting up a business/franchise of self-employed carers. It sounded perfect, but as with any new venture, there were concerns about starting up a business with no established track record.

During subsequent meetings, Andrew served as my mentor. We discussed the potential gains and future possibilities of starting such a business, and he provided me with a wealth of information and documents to get us started. Together, we developed all the necessary paperwork, from advertisements to references and contracts. We even met with a potential carer who was interested in joining our team.

Andrew’s dedication and commitment to providing the best care for our clients was unwavering. He sought legal advice and had contracts drawn up to ensure we were prepared for any challenges that might arise. Thanks to his vision, we were able to create a thriving business that has been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding.

In preparation for advertising our business, my son and I created a Facebook page and utilised Google, Yellow Pages and other care sites to get the word out. Andrew took charge of designing and distributing banners to various church sites while we also created leaflets and established a telephone line. In our first six months, we attended church coffee mornings and Fetes to introduce ourselves to potential clients.

Official Launch

Our business officially launched on April 3rd, 2018, and I spent time on the road distributing leaflets and introducing myself to potential social workers, doctors, solicitors, and accountants.

In May, we registered two self-employed carers and received our first care inquiry. We quickly onboarded two carers. Thanks to Andrew and myself, we were able to establish a care package for our first client and get our business up and running.

When I began working with my first client, Andrew was busy establishing a new branch in Plymouth. It was exciting to see the company gain recognition among people in Devon as a viable option for their home care needs.

“The self-employed carers were exceptional, providing flexible services tailored to individual needs. Their dedication and commitment instilled in me a passion to continue this work for the past five years.”

Growing Friends Helping at Home

Even though my branch was in Torbay, we received calls from clients in Ashburton, Teignmouth, and Newton Abbot. Carers from Newton Abbot also joined our team, enabling us to provide care in the surrounding areas.

Andrew found himself overwhelmed with invoicing tasks, but with my help, I introduced Chloe to him. This was the start of her career with FHAH! Torbay was the first of 5 branches in Devon, and when Teignbridge was established, of course, we had carers that moved over to that Branch. We were lucky to be attracting many carers to our Branch to keep providing care for our clients.


There have been numerous changes along the way, including new systems, new departments such as Finance, Compliance, Registration, and HR, and a shift towards online work. Torbay Branch had to upload all their paper documents to join the other branches working solely online. Then, Covid-19 arrived, which presented a significant challenge. We had to work from home more often, and carers needed more support with PPE and advice.

Despite these challenges, we are constantly evolving, growing, and meeting new challenges head-on.

Friends Helping at Home Torbay 5 years on.

We have conquered all challenges and still provide the largest network of self-employed carers in Torbay. Onwards and Upwards is what we see for the future!

I am fortunate to have a team who have significantly contributed to the growth of our business. Working together has been a great experience, as I get to interact with colleagues from different departments and branches.

With a competent Branch Manager and Assistant leading the team, I am confident that the branch is in safe hands and will continue to thrive. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with remarkable carers and clients over the past five years, who have played a significant role in establishing the FHAH-Torbay Branch as a reliable provider of excellent care in the Torbay area.

Looking back on my five-year journey with FHAH, I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of something so inspiring and impactful.

Karen Breyley, Director of Friends Helping at Home Torbay


Andrew’s Story

Celebrating 5 years of helping people at home

In April 2018 our first branch opened in Torbay. Karen was the first branch owner to operate under the fledgling brand and brainchild of Andrew Richardson our founding director. Andrew: “Karen responded to an advert. We were looking for someone to take on our first branch. We didn’t have anything that could resemble a track record only a vision of how care and support should be. Karen had been a nurse and care recruiter for a specialist agency that was relocating their head offices and Karen didn’t want to move out of the area.

So I had to sell Karen the vision.

Karen had the experience of helping in supported living as well as recruitment and liked the concept that enables both client groups – the Service Users and vocational Service Providers to have the freedom to choose their clients and clients to receive the type of care that we would want for ourselves or a loved one: choice, continuity and flexibility with in a safe environment.

Karen set out and developed relationships in the community and soon had her first client. When people realised that we did exactly what we said we would do Karen’s branch started to grow by word of mouth. Chloe now our Accounts Director and established team, initially joined on a part-time basis.

As the business grew and others joined opening other branches, it became necessary to invest in bespoke software and to employ specialists in compliance, quality, accounts, marketing and office services to ensure continuity to support the growing network.”

Prior to establishing Friends, Andrew worked with various practitioners and advisors who could ensure that we put the right governance structure and ways of working were in place before we launched.

Karen now has a full time manager Dana and assistant that run the branch on an operational day-to-day basis.

Andrew Richardson, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Friends Helping at Home


If you like the sound of what we do, why not contact us for an informal conversation?

Call Head Office 0333 202 71 71 to discuss recruitment and franchising opportunities.

Contact your local branch to find out more.

Find out more about our mission and what we do at Friends Helping at Home.