Personal alarm suppliers Lifeline 24 set sights on overseas expansion
Copyright: Archant 2017
A supplier of personal alarm systems for the elderly which signed up its 10,000th customer this month is preparing for a global expansion just three years after it was established.
Lifeline 24, based in Taverham, smashed another milestone this month when it received its 1,000th online customer review.
The Future50 company is on track to turn over £1.9m in the financial year ending on March 31 – up by almost 150% from £766,000 in the 2015/16 financial year. Its pre-tax profit is also set to rise significantly, from £211,000 in 2015/16 to around £500,000 in 2016/17.
Chief executive Simon Budd said the company is now looking to set up in Australia. with the help of one of its UK suppliers, Tunstall, and also is also eyeing up the American market.
He said expansion – both across the UK and abroad – is the number one priority for the business, which rents personal alarms, fall detectors and key safes to the elderly and vulnerable.
“We went national from day one – we saw no reason why we could not cover all parts of the country from the start and I think that is what has allowed us to grow so quickly.”
Mr Budd said the UK’s ageing population has helped its customer base to expand and, with the number of over-65s expected to increase to 13.9m (20.2% of the population) by 2025, he anticipates this trend will continue.
The promise of quick delivery – personal alarm installation can take as little as 24 hours – has also helped elderly hospital patients to return to their own homes sooner, freeing up healthcare resources.
Mr Budd said: “We get a lot of referrals from NHS Wales and I hope we could build a similar bond with the English health service.”
In the Future50 programme’s last round of funding Lifeline 24 secured a £50,000 grant, which helped it to create more than 20 new jobs – since March 2016 the workforce has grown from 17 to 38, with two more staff joining this month – as well as upgrading its computer systems and investing in new products such as the Vibby fall detector.
The company’s global expansion plans follow its launch in the Republic of Ireland in 2015, where business is booming.
With its customer service and accountancy divisions now open seven days a week, Lifeline 24 is aiming to expand its workforce further.