In 2009 Suzie Coghlan found herself on the road a great deal. With the increasing needs of two aging parents, and a child with a disability, she saw the need for a personalised service that helped people get around in their community and maintain their independence – and so, she established Carers That Drive. This service, which began in New South Wales, is now on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
1. What can clients expect when they use Carers That Drive?
As we tailor our service to client needs and match three supporters to each client, they can be assured we always turn up. Our supporters are all carefully handpicked, police checked, with various qualifications, have first aid, are kind and reliable.
Paul Sutton is our main man in charge of our service on the Sunshine Coast. Paul, his wife Wendy, and their family, are long time Sunshine Coast residents and very connected in the community. We have engaged six people so far in our team in the Sunny Coast and have more people we are planning to hire.
2. What did you do before this?
For nearly 30 years I worked in the Interior Design business. Having a child with a disability and elderly parents meant a change in careers from one where I had to be on the job all the time to flexible work.
My mother was the one that pushed me to start the business after seeing me driving all over town as my daughter could not go on any other mode of transport. She said if our family needed this service so must others.
3. Do you have any funny or moving stories from your work?
We have hundreds of funny and moving stories forever keeping us entertained. One was a group of four elderly ladies who used to go all over town playing bridge, but mostly in the centre of the city each week, which was always hard to stop to let them out.
The big construction workers in full hi vis and hardhats working on the building next door. used to go into the street with the ‘Stop’ sign to halt the traffic, while three other men would open the doors and escort the ladies into the building. We were all feeling the love!
Another was taking an elderly lady into the city when they stopped at the lights and there was a young lady wearing a very short skirt and very low-cut top. The supporter commented on the way she was dressed not being very professional, to which the sweet elderly client said, “depends on which profession she works in, dear”.
4. What do you enjoy the most about your business? There are so many aspects that are enjoyable it is hard to pick one. Building relationships with our clients and the community is inevitable and the clients are wonderful. The response to our service has been fantastic.
5. What does a ‘typical’ day entail for your team?
Admin staff work very closely with clients and supporters. Our supporters are out in the “field” and they may be taking a person from their home to a day program then picking up another person to take out to do their errands; they may take someone home from day surgery at a hospital, take clients to medical appointments and pick up shopping on the way home. Busy and rewarding.
6. What’s been the biggest, or most useful, lesson you’ve learnt since running Carers That Drive?
The biggest lesson would have to be that there is no limit to what both our clients and team can achieve by all working together and dreaming big.
7. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spend time with family, do some sport, reading and in the good old days, travel.
8. If you had to share any advice connected to your business, what would it be?
Be kind, enjoy what you do and build relationships.
For more information, visit: carersthatdrive.com.au
If you are interested in joining the team at Carers That Drive, contact Suzie Coghlan directly on 0403 057051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org