When Mercy Obovu's mum Eunice passed away in Nigeria in 2019, Mercy wanted to honour Eunice's memory by passing on her caring attitude. Mercy, decided to set up a business in the homecare sector, and now she is the new Avant Homecare franchisee in Bromley & Bexley, Kent.
Mercy, who lives in London with her husband and four boys, says: "Mum was such a caring person and this is my chance to care for other people, just as she did."
At home in Nigeria, Mercy's mum ran a restaurant. "She often gave away food to people who couldn't afford it. I remember one little boy of about nine, whose parents had very little money, so he was always hungry. Eventually he ran away from home, but he was a bright boy and later went to the USA, where he got a scholarship and became a medical doctor.
"Years later he tracked down my mum and told her: 'If it wasn't for you I would have starved as a child.'
"During my mum's funeral many more people turned up and said mum had done so much for them and the community. I decided my future lay in caring for others, just as she did. When I told my dad Simon that I intended to start a homecare business in her memory, he cried and said I was as caring as mum."
Back in England, Mercy, currently working within a Local Authority but previously a deputy manager in a residential home for people with learning disability and support worker, researched care franchises. "I felt that setting up a care business would be easier and faster with a franchise because care is a heavily regulated sector and a good franchisor helps you keep abreast of changes and helps with the mandatory inspections.
"I researched the background of Avant Homecare's senior team, Sally Graham, Deepa Dungar and Mike Horgan, and found they were as passionate about care as I am. I met them and knew I could work with them."
She says: "Sometimes I'm daunted by all the work but I know it will be a success with the help of Avant centrally. I still miss mum every day but when I think about why I am doing this, it makes me happy."