35 years is just the start for success story Agincare

Published: Tuesday 2nd March 2021

This year marks the 35th anniversary of leading independent care provider Agincare. From a single care home in Weymouth, Agincare has grown to deliver high quality and affordable care in over 50 locations nationwide, employing over 3,500 people.

In 1986 founder and chairman, Derek Luckhurst, started his first care home – Agincourt – in Weymouth, Dorset. The Luckhurst family lived on site, and Derek got to know care inside-out by delivering it on a day-to-day basis.

His vision was to create a new style of care home, that offered high-quality personalised care and facilities at an affordable price.

Building on Agincourt’s good local reputation, Derek created independent care provider Agincare in 1993 to deliver home care and manage a growing number of care and nursing homes across the country.

In 1994, Agincare was one of the very first care providers in the country to be awarded a local authority block contract for home care for older people, and now has over 70 public sector contracts nationwide.

Derek said:

I was inspired to go into the care sector because I knew there were ways of providing a better quality of care than what was available at the time.

Since then I’m immensely proud that, in my opinion, we as a team have evolved into the best and greatest value care provider in the country.

Looking back, I have plenty of memories of the last 35 years, but can’t imagine anything more profound than what we are going through at the moment with the Covid pandemic.

I have never felt so proud of the team. Everyone at all levels has played their part from the Chief Executive, through to our dedicated care workers, going out every day risking their lives to provide an essential service to society.

Current Chief Executive Raina Summerson joined in 2004, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience as a qualified social worker with a Masters in Mental Health Services. Before joining Agincare, Raina had worked in private care, with local authorities and the NHS as well as a regulatory inspector of care homes and domiciliary care agencies.

Raina said:

Raina Summerson Agincare CEO

The vision for Agincare is to achieve continued growth and a national presence, through self-funded and sustainable expansion and diversification of services.

Unlike many other care providers, despite our rapid growth and success, Agincare has remained family-owned with no external investors. We are a local and caring organisation driven by people with a passion for what they do.

Agincare has continued to expand over the years, working with local authorities and introducing innovative new services. These include live-in care, home care, extra care and support for younger adults, alongside a growing network of over 20 care and nursing homes and retirement villages nationwide.

Since 2017, Agincare’s ‘Training Now’ division has been delivering practical social care, education and other training courses, qualifications and apprenticeships to its own teams and learners from other organisations too.

Spring 2021 saw Agincare open a new office in Harrogate, Yorkshire to expand its care services in the north of England.

This sure and stable approach has seen Agincare survive three recessions and weather the current Covid pandemic to grow on a sustainable basis.

Over the last 35 years Agincare has grown to be not only one of the largest providers of care in the country but one of the biggest employers in south Dorset, providing jobs and support for the local economy.

Agincare has a deep-rooted connection to Weymouth and Portland – Derek’s father, grandfather and uncles all worked in the Naval Base on Portland – and is driving regeneration on the island.

In 2014 Agincare converted a derelict naval bakery in Castletown, Portland to be its main Headquarters and house all its support teams under one roof; and it is soon to be joined by an adjacent new ‘Riggers’ office to accommodate the growing head office workforce.

Derek spearheads the Castletown Regeneration Project, which has brought many improvements to the area following the closure of the Naval Base Air Station and Underwater Weapons Research Establishments in the 1990s.

Included is a Tourist Information Centre, Crabbers’ Wharf holiday apartments complex and popular new D-Day Centre, which won a Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Award in 2020, bringing many tourists, schools and groups to the area.

To 2022 and beyond

We celebrated our 35th anniversary year with our teams and those who draw on our services in a series of events, whilst delivering essential care and support to some of the most vulnerable people in society during the pandemic.  Read on to discover just a few of the highlights from 2021 or click on the links below to find out more about our 35th anniversary year.

2021 – 35 years, a review of the year

35 years – a timeline

Lifetime achievement award for Derek

At the end of 2021, and Derek, watched by a conference hall of his peers, took to the stage to collect a Lifetime Achievement Award at the prestigious Leaders in Care Awards held at the NCC in Birmingham.

 Paying tribute to the room Derek said:

We do an amazing job in this industry. Every single one of us should be proud of ourselves.

However, the implication that 35 years represents the totality of my working lifetime underestimates the amount of enthusiasm and energy I still have to grow Agincare further; and continue to make a positive difference to the sector and those we care for.

Celebrating Covid heroes!

The bravery, commitment and dedication of our teams was recognised with the award of a specially commissioned Covid Hero Medal to all our team members across the country.

Star of film and television Joanna Lumley recorded a special video message. It congratulated workers on receiving the medal and thanking them for their heroic efforts.

Watch Joanna Lumley's tribute to Agincare's incredible Covid Care Heroes

Agincare Chief Executive Raina Summerson said:

We wanted to find a heart-felt way of saying thank you and showing genuine appreciation to our Agincare team, during what has been an incredibly challenging time for them both personally and professionally. They have shown true resilience, courage and commitment to social care, and we wanted to recognise that.

Covid hero medal

We also launched our first ever Agincare Heroes Awards scheme, calling for nominations across the nation for incredible team members that have gone above and beyond in the course of their care duties.  In the region of 200 nominations were received, with an exciting awards ceremony set for spring 2022.

Raina is a voice of the industry

Our Chief Executive Raina Summerson is a passionate champion of social care, calling for reform, workforce development and long term funding for the sector. In her role Raina has given evidence to Government select committees, contributed to leading sector reports and think tanks. Raina speaks up for social care in the national media and is proud to be an Ambassador of John’s Campaign. It supports the rights of family visitors and essential carers in health and care settings.  In recognition of Raina’s contribution to the sector, this year she was recognised in Home Care Insight’s inaugural Power List as a Voice of the Industry.


A long term sustainable future

As an independent, family-run and owned care provider, we are always focused on long-term sustainability, providing peace of mind for our clients and their loved ones.  Derek’s three sons Adam, Simon and Piers are now taking a leading role in leading Agincare’s growth to ensure it has a successful future, whilst staying true to the values it was built on.

Simon, Adam, Derek and Piers Luckhurst

Find a time line of Agincare’s journey over the last 35 years.