Care group ambition for multi-millionaire

Simon Rigby, who bought the Safehands group in 2011
Simon Rigby, who bought the Safehands group in 2011
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A multi-millionaire businessman has unveiled plans to create a chain of care homes across Lancashire.

Simon Rigby, whose fortune is estimated at £22m, said he was planning to open high-dependency care homes in Preston and Blackpool under his brand, Safehands Extra Care.

He expects to open a four-bedroom home in St Annes next month, the first under the brand.

It is part of a portfolio of businesses which includes renewable energy providers and brokers and The Villa hotel at Wrea Green, near Kirkham.

Mr Rigby said: “I am hoping it will be a very good growth area for us because what we will be providing is a truly first-class offer.

“We are planning high quality units which if you compare with our competitors there would be no questions which you would choose.

“It is a new direction for St Annes and I hope it will be the first of many in Lancashire with number two planned for Blackpool and number three in Preston.

“I am very keen to see us roll out these extra care units.”

In 2011, he bought the Safehands Group which own seven nurseries and offers babysitting and creche services, employing 250 people.

He has also invested £500,000 into turning the New Mayfair hotel on Blackpool’s South Shore into a respite care home which is now registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Mr Rigby said he believed it to be the first hotel to achieve the standards set by the watchdog.

He said: “I think both businesses and I see them both fitting the way the industry is going.

“The Government is paying first class prices to ensure people get first class facilities and first class services.

“That type of quality sells and I think we have to get out of this mindset where people expect to get five star service for one star prices, in whatever industry.”

The businessman is the founder and former chief executive of FTSE 250-listed utilities group Spice plc, a group born out of a buy-out of part of Yorkshire Water.

He netted a £22m windfall when the utility services group Spice was sold £251m in 2010.