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Aberdeen man says gran’s loneliness drove him into business

Tim Ridkorn Tessalee now runs a firm providing home help and companionship for the elderly.

Tim Ridkorn Tessalee. Image: DCT Media
Tim Ridkorn Tessalee. Image: DCT Media

Every Monday, we ask small businesses key questions. Here we speak to Tim Ridkorn Tessalee, managing director of Aberdeen-based Appleton Home Help.

How and why did you start in business?

I founded Appleton Home Help after witnessing my grandmother’s battle with loneliness, despite her great health. It became painfully apparent her wellbeing was significantly impacted by a lack of companionship, which was something our family, tied up with work commitments, couldn’t adequately provide.

My business is driven by the belief that strong mental health is the cornerstone of strong physical health. I want to make sure others don’t have to suffer what my grandmother endured.

How did you get to where you are today?

The realisation of my grandmother’s situation was a turning point for me. It underscored that emotional support, consistent check-ups, and practical help at home are as crucial as any medical care.

With Appleton Home Help, I combine my experience in healthcare with an Edinburgh University masters degree in business administration.

I’ve gained an understanding of the specific needs of the elderly.

I’m motivated by my grandmother’s situation to create a service focused on combating loneliness and allowing the elderly to live independently.

It’s about significantly improving our clients’ lives, ensuring they feel valued, connected and happy at home.

Who helped you?

Starting a new business seemed very complex, but I’ve been supported by Aberdeen City Council and Business Gateway. And my involvement with the Federation of Small Businesses has offered essential insights into the managerial aspects of running a successful venture.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?

My father once advised: “Businesses should prioritise helping others over profit. A business not putting customers first will not succeed.”

This advice shapes our operations and ensures our home helpers surpass customer needs.

Tim Ridkorn Tessalee
Tim. like his dad, believes businesses should put people before profits. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

What is your biggest mistake?

At the start of my career I underestimated the need for comprehensive staff training, assuming natural compassion was adequate.

The initial service simply didn’t live up to expectations. Following feedback, I prioritised empathy and enhanced training, and now my team possess the required skills for top-tier home help services.

What is your greatest achievement?

Launching Connected Senior in Aberdeen, aimed at nurturing mental health and wellbeing for the elderly. We host regular events to encourage social interaction and support, significantly reducing isolation and loneliness, and enhancing community spirit.

How are you managing rapidly rising costs and how could the government help?

The cost-of-living crisis has disproportionately impacted the elderly and their families, so we’ve implemented strategies to keep our services both affordable and high-quality.

Key to our approach is maintaining a fixed schedule, and our referral scheme enhances community support by providing free service hours to both the referrer and new client.

What do you still hope to achieve?

I aim to grow Appleton Home Help across the UK. Our goal is to serve a broader client base and allow more seniors to live independently at home. Such expansion will enhance our impact, helping elderly people throughout the country to preserve their dignity and independence.

What do you do to relax?

To unwind, I engage deeply in family moments. From outdoor excursions and game nights to tranquil evenings indoors, these shared experiences bring immense comfort and happiness. Time with my family rejuvenates me, anchoring me in the essentials and offering a pleasant respite from daily routines.

What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

As a Manchester United FC fan, I’m captivated by the David Beckham series on Netflix, stirring nostalgia. The show revisits United’s glory days, showcasing iconic moments from Beckham’s perspective.

More than football, it delves into the game’s essence, highlighting the dedication and passion synonymous with United.

This series vividly rekindles my love for the club and admiration for Beckham’s impact on and off the field.

David Beckham in his Manchester United days.
David Beckham in his Manchester United days. Image: Phil Noble/PA Wire

What do you waste your money on?

My main splurge is on experiences and gifts that boost my family’s happiness and wellbeing. Rather than wasted, I feel every penny spent is a valuable investment in our overall wellbeing.

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

I start with a meditation session to refresh my mind, keeping it sharp and well for the day. I then plan my day to ensure a productive flow. This practice keeps me focused and fully ready for the day’s events.

What do you drive and dream of driving?

I’m using a compact car, which is great for city driving and fuel efficiency. I dream of upgrading to a SUV, which would be ideal for family trips, outdoor adventures and handling the varied local weather.