IF Phil Crowther is the creative force behind Newlands Group, he’s quick to acknowledge that Lisa Spark’s management skills are fundamental to the success of the business.

“She has an incredible ability to work under pressure and stay cool while managing multiple challenges,” he says.

Lisa, from Peterlee, started her career in human resources with the Safeway supermarket chain, before becoming HR Manager for Furniture Express, looking after 50 branches across the UK.

When that business ceased trading, she answered an advertisement in The Northern Echo for a recruitment consultant and landed the job with 5C Solutions, run by Phil.

Sixteen years on, she’s managing director of Newlands Group, having helped Phil guide the business through the challenges of the financial crash, the Covid-19 pandemic, the global impact of the war in Ukraine, and the cost-of-living crisis.

“We complement each other – we’re yin and yang,” she says. “Phil’s always been the natural entrepreneur, the blue-sky thinker, and I’m the one who makes his ideas come to fruition.”

Lisa cites the growth of Care Matters has a particular highlight, with the business recently securing a new contract to double the domiciliary care services it provides for Stockton Borough Council.

Care Matters has been a framework provider for the council since 2019, providing domiciliary services in Yarm, Ingleby Barwick, Thornaby, and the Parkfield and Oxbridge areas of Stockton.

The new contract, covering Billingham, Eaglescliffe, and other parts of Thornaby and Ingleby Barwick, is the biggest the company has been awarded since its launch in 2013, and marks its first venture into supported living.

It means Care Matters will be adding around 70 staff to its already 100-strong workforce.

“It’s huge for us and gives us great confidence for further growth in the future,” says Lisa. “We’ve ridden the storm together over the years and there’s still a lot more we can achieve.”