Kickstart helps former nurse’s business get off on the right foot
An ex-district nurse has returned to her roots by setting up a successful foot care business with support from Bradford Council.
Christine Harker left the NHS in 2010 after 30 years’ service, having risen to become a senior nurse manager. Now she is back looking after patients once again – but this time focusing just on their feet. She set up Heel2Toe Foot Health Care last year with support from Bradford Council’s Kickstart enterprise programme and is steadily growing her list of clients.
Christine, from Haworth, said: “Given my background as a community nurse, I am comfortable with people and their own environment and don’t have a problem dealing with aspects of personal care. Plus I know from experience how much good regular foot care enhances people’s quality of life so my idea stemmed from there.
“It was always an aspiration to work for myself but knowing how to get out there and do it was another matter.
“I realised approaching Kickstart would be a great way of working through everything and creating a proper business plan – that turned out to be exactly what happened.”
She worked with Kickstart enterprise coach Candy Squire-Watt to develop her business plan, marketing and networking skills having spent 12 months gaining a diploma in foot health care and attending a centre of excellence.
Christine is now a qualified Foot Health Practitioner, performing treatments such as toe-nail cutting, dealing with corns, callus and general foot care in and around Keighley as well as at a clinic at a Harden pharmacy.
“When I went to the initial group Kickstart sessions it was really helpful to talk with other people in the same position about the positives and negatives of starting a business,” added Christine.
“The biggest message was that you had to be brave to start on your own but that the help would be there if you took the plunge.
“I had invested a huge amount of effort in getting qualified and reaching the point that I could start the business but I risked not being able to see the wood for the trees.
“My enterprise coach guided me out of the trees, as it were, and now I’ve built up a really nice client list which continues to grow.
“Eighty per cent of my clients are older people who are in their own homes and have particular problems with general foot care like thickened nails. The other twenty per cent are a mix of younger men and woman with foot care needs such as ingrown toe nails, callus and dry cracked heels.”
Coun David Green, Bradford Council Leader, said: “Christine’s knowledge and experience gave her a brilliant starting point to establish her own business and it’s very pleasing that Kickstart has been able to help her.
“Whether you have 30 years’ or 30 weeks’ experience, starting out on your own can be a daunting proposition but our enterprise coaches offer invaluable assistance and support.”
Heel2Toe Foot Health Care
T 07504 714072