Wellbeing Teams, inspired by the innovative Dutch care model ‘Buurtzorg’, will support people to live well in their own home through self-managing, local teams. This radical new home care model has already gained significant national interest from SCIE, TLAP and local authority commissioners; and their first teams will be starting in Paignton and Torquay this month.

Wellbeing Teams are made up of a small number of Wellbeing Workers, who deliver care in a small, specific area in ‘self-managing’ teams. This gives the teams more flexibility, and keeps decisions about people’s care close to the people themselves. In turn this frees enables staff to focus on outcomes, not a task-and-time approach; and personalisation principles are built into the model. This new way of working is also intended to fix many of the problems currently seen in the sector, from poor quality care to staff satisfaction and retention.

The model was developed by Helen Sanderson, who is the author of a number of books on person-centred practice, an advisor to the UK government on personalisation and CEO of Helen Sanderson Associates. Helen has partnered with Maddy Bird and David Harborne, both from a social work background, to bring Wellbeing Teams to the Torbay area under the name ‘love2care’.

Helen says:

“We know that there are significant problems in home care, as evidenced by high levels of complaints and high staff turnover rates. Most solutions focus on trying to get more money into the system, or trying to make it more efficient. Realistically, there are challenges with both of these approaches as the system is fundamentally broken.

Wellbeing Teams are affordable because their self-management structure reduces bureaucracy and keeps decisions closer to the people delivering care, and ample research has shown that people working in self-managing teams are happier and more productive – therefore more likely to stay.”


Maddy says:

“Using person-centred thinking tools to get to know people, combined with self-management, makes a huge difference. Whilst putting together a one-page profile I learnt that someone I was supporting would like to have fish and chips every week, so I phoned her and asked if she would like me to pick some up for her on my way over. Another lady had mentioned that she needed to head to the shops, and I was able to drop her off on my way to another appointment without having to call ‘head office’. The freedom self-management creates can make a huge difference to people’s quality of life.”


The Wellbeing Teams approach focuses on three areas to create true wellbeing:

  1. keeping people safe and well,
  2. supporting people to do more of what matters to them, and
  3. Helping people to stay connected to their friends, family and community, which they do in partnership with the charity Community Circles.

The model has generated considerable interest in the social care sector, where people are looking for new solutions at a time where the sector is under strain due to tight council budgets. Think Local Act Personal and the Social Care Institute for Excellence recently featured Wellbeing Teams as the first organisation in their new series on ‘Reimagining Homecare’. This webinar can be accessed online here.

The service is launching this month. To find out more about Wellbeing Teams, people can visit www.wellbeingteams.org to sign up to the mailing list or email adam@wellbeingteams.org.


Notes for the editor:

  • Helen Sanderson is available for interview on request. For more information, please contact adam@wellbeingteams.org.
  • Helen Sanderson is a published author and CEO of the social enterprise Helen Sanderson Associates. She has over 20 years of experience in the area of person-centred practice and previously worked for many years as a social worker and occupational therapist.
  • David and Maddy founded love2care, the first UK franchise partner for Wellbeing Teams.
  • The first teams will be operating in Paignton and Torquay, and they have plans to expand to other areas. To find out more about these teams, visit love2care.uk or contact Maddy Bird on 07715 686374 or via email at maddy.bird@love2care.uk.
  • Animations and photos are available to illustrate online or print articles. The animations can be seen here: