Athena Care, Leicester, in search for for 100 new staff
Leicestershire is getting a much-needed jobs boost, thanks to a care company which is looking to take on 100 more full-time staff.
Bosses at Athena Care, based in Leicester, said they needed to fill an immediate demand for care workers to go and help people in their homes.
It comes after figures showed the number of city and county people on jobseekers allowance grew by 735 between December and January, to almost 22,000.
Athena Care takes on council, health trust and private contracts to help people of all ages living at home with conditions from brain and spinal injuries to dementia.
Managing director Stella Baxter said: "We need at least 100 staff now because demand is outweighing supply.
"We get vast numbers of inquiries and are desperately trying to fill those vacancies."
Many of the company's council contracts are in the Harborough and Loughborough areas, but it also operates across the county and further afield.
Ms Baxter said the number of new jobs created could rise even further if the company wins a Leicester City Council tender in the summer, which would run for four years.
It means the company, based in Saxby Street, off London Road, could have 300 staff by the end of the year, compared with the current figure of 130.
"We would like to see a workforce of 300 by September, if we get the city council on board," Ms Baxter said.
The company, which turns over about £1.75 million a year, has been providing care services for 12 years.
Ms Baxter said it had seen periods of growth in the past, but not on this scale. Athena Care offers full training, a wage of between £7.40 and £8.40 an hour and some travel expenses, as well as sick pay, holiday pay and maternity leave.
Ms Baxter said about a third of the current staff are men, and that the business is currently developing a training programme with Loughborough College.
She said she felt the rise in demand was partly due to the ageing population.
Deb Rogers, Athena Care's training and assessment manager, said: "What we are trying to do is to provide a better service than other companies in the care sector.
"We have the demand, but can't get the staff in quickly enough.
"The nicest thing about the job is to see someone with dementia, who is worried about going into a home, feeling settled in their own home because you are there to help them."
Maxine Aldred, regional organiser for the Federation of Small Businesses in Leicestershire, said: "We are delighted to hear about any business moving forward, taking on new staff and planning ahead.
"Obviously, there are still employment problems, but Leicestershire is doing well."