It's often the case that personal experience generates change. Autumna is no exception and our story starts in 2006 when, with no prior experience of the elder care market, Debbie Harris found herself needing to find a care home for her Aunty Margaret.
She had to act quickly and felt totally under-prepared and un-informed to be making such an important decision for a cherished member of her family.
Having eventually found a suitable care home, it was obvious to her that the whole process could be improved with the availability of more detailed, impartial, online information in a format that was easier to navigate and compare results.
In 2009 Debbie established Chosen with Care - a consultancy offering a bespoke search service for self-funding families looking for later-life care and care homes.
Over the next 10 years Debbie and her growing team placed over 1,000 clients into carefully selected care homes, and offered free advice to many thousands more.
Chosen with Care established a solid reputation with clients and care providers built on independence, integrity, understanding, empathy and expertise. Having witnessed some questionable practices in the sector, Debbie resolved never to accept referral fees from providers, and to focus on putting client's interests front and centre.
In 2019, Autumna was conceived with the purpose of taking Chosen with Care online and making the extensive database of care homes and care services available to the public - a care provider directory more detailed and with more useful, searchable information than any other.
In addition to Autumna's own ongoing research and data gathering, care providers would be able to use the easy-to-edit functionality of the website, to keep their own details up-todate and relevant, and to showcase their own unique qualities.
Autumna believes everyone deserves to be able to access a higher standard of care.
Autumna is therefore committed to helping everybody as best we can - and, using the choice that self-funders have, to improve standards and transparency across the entire elder care sector.
“My mission is to get people talking about care; we need to plan, we need to think ahead"
Roni joined the company to help the bespoke care searches that Autumna conducts on behalf of private clients.
Her wonderful telephone manner and ready sense of humour makes her a hit with care providers and care seekers alike.
Her previous experience includes working as an Activities Coordinator in a large care home, running a recruitment company, mentoring young adults, conducting IT and telephone training and working as production secretary on the classic TV series – Thunderbirds.
Outside office hours, Roni enjoys Nordic walking, travelling, cooking, quizzes, WI and running a book club.
Steph is another much-loved Family Liaison Adviser with Autumna – so good in fact, we hired her twice – initially in January ‘21 and then again in December ’22. (It’s a long story).
Coming from a Social Work background Steph understands the stresses and demands that carers face and her experience and expertise makes her uniquely qualified to support families in making what are very often, tough decisions.
Steph lives in Tamworth with her partner and two children and in her spare time enjoys cross-stitch, reading and playing the pan pipes.
Phoebe joined the advice line team in early 2021 and quickly made herself an integral part of the team.
Her biggest passion, by a country mile, is football. Not only has she been playing for 12 years, played for her local team and worked as a research assistant at the English Schools’ Football association but you might have even seen her on the TV as a ceremony maker during the Euro 2020.
Her love of sports extends beyond just football though. She’ll watch anything on TV that’s sports related, and her BSc Sports Psychology degree will corroborate that story.
She also loves spending time with her family, especially babysitting her niece Autumn. And did we mention she likes sports?
Tosin may be one of the newest members of the advice line team but you’d never know it to speak with her. Within a matter of months she made the role entirely her own.
Although she primarily works answering the phones and responding to your many emails, she occasionally supports Marie working on data entry as well. At Autumna she’s become a bit of a jack-of-all-trades but then again, she’s certainly close to mastering many too!
When’s she’s not working hard, Tosin has a sporadic and often changing set of interests. If she had to pick a few favorites right now then she’d take a quiet night in with a good book, the blockbuster experience of the big screen (especially superhero movies) and being able to try all kinds of new food.
At the time of writing, Autumna had over 8,000 enhanced and active care provider profiles in its database. Marie uploaded and populated most of them and works tirelessly to maintain their relevance and validity.
Having worked for 14 years in care homes, home care and recruitment, Marie recently moved to south Wales with her retired firefighter husband, Steve and a golden Labrador puppy, Holly.
Marie has four grown-up children and two grandchildren. She is a Spurs supporter – which is slightly worrying and spends her spare time walking, exploring her new Welsh habitat, and reading.
She can also solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 2 minutes.
Kelly Cox is Autumna’s customer liaison guru having worked previously in recruitment for BUPA and more recently as Community Relations Lead for Hamberley Care Homes.
Kelly lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and son and describes herself as a home girl who loves nothing more than spending time with her family. They like walking, playing board games and doing jigsaw puzzles together.
She played flute in her school band and this developed into a love of music, theatre and shows.
She also has an alter-ego called Kelly Christmas due to her love of the festive season which begins each year for her in August and finishes sometime in July.
To say Shirley loves being out and about is an understatement. In fact, she’s a bit of a globetrotter travelling all over Europe and sailing around the Greek islands before flying down under or living it up in New York.
Her active lifestyle doesn’t stop when she gets back to the UK either as she loves going to the gym and even ran the 2014 London Marathon in just over 4 hours. She’s also a big supporter of local, non-league football team Tonbridge Angels.
Whilst her grown-up son is her world, we’d wager 'granddog' Boycie might come in a close second. He’s not included in her photo for nothing.
Having worked for most of his adult life in marketing, video production and the hospitality industry, Rob joined Autumna in a full-time administrative role in March 2020, just as the COVID pandemic pushed the country into lockdown.
He lives in Tunbridge Wells, with his wife, Autumna founder, Debbie Harris, which means he has no time for outside interests or hobbies. He used to enjoy nothing more than a good long sleep, however he hasn’t had one for a very long time.
His soul mate is Geoff, an old lurcher with very bad breath. They regularly spend early mornings planning their escape.
If you’ve read our newsletters, seen our social media, browsed our website or received any communications from Autumna whatsoever, there’s a good chance Mike has had his hand in it.
When he's not travelling to Berlin to spend time with his fiancé, he's back home by the seaside in Margate. You can usually guess his location by listening for the sound of seagulls every time he speaks.
Mike also has an MA in literature so he probably enjoys reading quite a bit but he tells us that his love and knowledge of music is even greater. His iTunes library has a rather sizable 8,536 songs but it's still growing. His biggest dislike is writing about himself in the third person.
If your question is: "How do I find the best care home near me?" or in fact "How do I find the best home care agency near me?" then let us help you. If your question is: "Where can I find a live-in care provider?" or "Where can I find retirement living developments near me?" then we can help with that too.
Just use this simple questionnaire to help shortlist care homes, home care providers, live-in care agancies and assisted living and retirement communities in your chosen area.
Alternatively email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to one of our team of care experts for free, impartial, independent advice about your senior care and later life options on 01892 335 330
Home Care Services
Live-in Care Services
Retirement Living Developments
Autumna is the UK's largest and most comprehensive later-life living & elderly care directory. Our detailed search facility and team of expert advisors can help you find the best care homes, nursing homes, retirement homes, retirement villages, home care, and live-in care services for you or your loved one's needs. Our website is free to use, we are proudly independent, and we never take referral fees.