ONE of Wiltshire’s leading home care groups is having to ‘let go’ some of its vulnerable and elderly clients because of an acute staff shortage that is crippling the sector.

Senior carer Kate Ball, 65, who works in Bradford on Avon and the surrounding area for the Salisbury-based Abicare Group, says they are struggling to recruit new employees and are stretched to the limit.

She says they are having to withdraw from the Devizes area because they just don’t have enough care workers living in the area to provide a service to their clients.

Mrs Ball said: “It is just a nightmare. The job is not just about wiping bums.

"We are an invisible force within your community. We are out there in the cold, the wet, and the dark from early morning to late at night, looking after your loved ones, your neighbours and your friends.

“We are struggling with a lack of staff. So many of our carers have left us for various reasons although some have come back to us.

“We are heartbroken to have had to give notice to some of our clients because we no longer have enough staff to service them.

She added: "We feel forgotten, morale is low, but we still keep going, we still keep doing our best and we are still supporting you. We will keep going even though our numbers are not enough. We are working extra hours every day while our numbers are so low.

"There are vulnerable people in our community both young and elderly, wanting us, waiting for us, hoping for us to knock on their door. We desperately need more carers. We desperately need more people to care."

The Abicare Group offers live-in care, visiting home care and companionship care to hundreds of clients from five offices across the south west of England and south east Wales.

The company pays its 350 care workers from £10-£16 per hour in SE Wales and from £10.50-£16 an hour in England. It is looking to take on up to 50 more employees.

But the group’s managing director Anne-Marie Perry says they are struggling to recruit more employees, adding: “There is more work than any of us can do right now.

“There is a lot of work that comes through and we currently have just enough staff to deliver the work that we do but there is no possibility of taking on any more.”

Mrs Perry has spoken to Health Minister Gillian Keegan about the recruitment problem but feels that the “poor narrative” the care sector presents to society is not helping.

“We need to change the narrative. Once you are out there, it is incredibly rewarding but as an industry we are struggling to get people into working with us.”

Mrs Ball, who lives in Monkton Farleigh, pleaded with people, young and old, with time on their hands to consider becoming a care worker, whether full-time or part-time.

“Age is not so important, hours are flexible, we are such a lovely team of men and women to work with.

“It wasn't that long ago you were clapping for us on a Thursday night. Our community desperately need us, we need you.”

If you would like to know more about the roles available and to join Abicare Group visit the vacancies page at