The founder and chair of a leading specialist healthcare provider has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Jan Flawn, who set up her company, PJ Care, in 2000, has been made a CBE.
A CBE is one step below Knight and Dame in the order of chivalry in the British honours system.
Jan said: “As you can imagine, I’m absolutely overwhelmed and honoured to be receiving this award. I went into nursing quite late in life, at the age of 30, after leaving school with no qualifications at the age of 15.
“Since then, all I have ever wanted to do is care for people in the very best way I can.
“And, I suppose, this wonderful recognition from Her Majesty the Queen is a lovely way of confirming that I have been able to do just that.”
Jan’s company owns and manages three specialist neurological care centres which provide treatment and rehabilitation for a range of conditions including motor neurone disease, young onset dementia, Huntington’s disease and acquired brain injuries. It also cares for people with spinal injuries.
Jan opened her first centre, Bluebirds, in Milton Keynes in 2001. PJ Care then opened a second centre in Milton Keynes, Mallard House, in 2005, and in the summer of 2012, it opened its flagship Eagle Wood Neurological Care Centre in Peterborough.
Johann van Zyl, chief executive officer at PJ Care, paid tribute to Jan saying: “While other entrepreneurs in this field have used private equity investment to raise capital, Jan mortgaged her home, risking her own money to fund PJ Care.
“There was immense resistance in securing start-up funding for her first care centre.
“She only wanted to borrow £750,000 but was turned down by all the major banks because they said the business plan wasn’t viable. Jan always believed in her plan and believed she could do it. “We are all very proud of her and her remarkable achievements.”
Jan, who is still a registered nurse, decided to open her own care centre after seeing young people with neurological conditions receiving inappropriate treatment in care homes for the elderly.Many of the buildings, converted from private residences, were cramped, dark and unsuitable for the young patients’ complex clinical needs.
“I wanted to provide a facility that would give more freedom to these young people,” said Jan in an interview in the Financial Times earlier this year. “Care isn’t just about keeping them alive. It’s about giving them a quality of life.”
Jan is passionate about helping others achieve their goals and also works as a mentor. Among those she has taken under her wing is Milton Keynes business owner Laura Bowley, who Jan helped to set up her Stoney Stratford gym Happy Bodies. A number of charities have also been helped by Jan and by PJ Care.
Jan is heavily involved with brain injury charity Headway, supporting the group’s branches both in Milton Keynes and in Cambridgeshire.
Young girls in and around Milton Keynes have also benefited from Jan’s generosity – PJ Care recently signed a five-figure sponsorship deal with the MK Dons ladies’ football team. The money will go towards improving the fitness and well-being of girls in four junior teams at under 11, 13, 15 and under 17 levels.
Now Jan is looking forward to a trip to Buckingham Palace to receive her honour.
“I have won other awards,” she says. “Winning the First Woman in Business Award was a particular thrill for me last year.
“But this must top the lot – I’m on cloud nine.”