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Left to right is Meridith Goodman, HR manager, Caroline Collins, director, Claire Ross, employee trustee and registered vet nurse and Matthew Flann, director, all from Pennard Vets

Left to right is Meridith Goodman, HR manager, Caroline Collins, director, Claire Ross, employee trustee and registered vet nurse and Matthew Flann, director, all from Pennard Vets

National Award Confirms Kent's Employee Owned Veterinary Group Is A Thriving Model For Sustainability

3 months ago

19th January, 2024 12h45

Pennard Vets

A B-Corp certified veterinary group that became the world’s largest employee owned (EO) practice in 2021 and has since inspired numerous other practices to follow suit, has won a prestigious national award.

Pennard Vets has been named as the Employee Ownership Association’s (EOA) Rising Star, which recognises the success of an organisation that is less than three years into its employee ownership journey. 

The award judges noted that Pennard Vets had really leveraged their employee ownership to deliver impacts on growth and staff satisfaction through embedding a great EO culture in the team. In addition, they had sought to protect the business’s independence and become a champion of EO within the veterinary sector. The award was presented at the EOA Conference in Liverpool.

Pennard Vets has eight practices in Kent and a key ambition when it took the decision to make its entire 150-strong team business and practice owners, by transferring the business into an employee ownership trust (EOT), was to protect both its independence and core values, which date back more than 125 years. 

Pennard Vets has also been eager to spread the word about employee ownership to other veterinary practices. 

Matthew Flann, a director from Pennard Vets, said: “Winning this award is a huge coup for our entire industry, who have been searching for ways to secure the future of their independent practices. Set against a backdrop of increasing corporatisation of UK veterinary practices, we chose to protect our heritage by becoming an EOT. 

“It hasn't been easy, but it has been massively rewarding and our team have passionately bought into their new status as owners, and the results can be seen throughout the practice – from team-led initiatives to the impact on the range of procedures we can now offer to our patients. It’s genuinely been transformational and since 2021 we’ve doubled turnover and grown our team by 30%. We’ve also welcomed Abbotsley Veterinary Group and Priory Lodge into the group with the two local Kent practices citing our EOT status as a motivating factor for their moves.

“Crucially our EOT structure provided the launchpad to becoming the first veterinary practice in Europe to achieve B-Corp status in 2022, which we see as another step towards becoming the very best practice possible, using input and ideas from our team to provide a better service, give back to our community and protect the environment.

“We’re also determined to make the journey less arduous for other veterinary practices to follow our lead and we regularly hear from practice owners who are exploring becoming EO. We’ve established the British Veterinary Employee Owned Association to help guide other practices through the journey of becoming an EOT by networking, attending events and presenting webinars. This year we have supported thriving practices to become EO in all parts of the UK. These include Arrowfield Vets in Herefordshire, Animal Tails Veterinary Practice in Stirling, Shetland Vets and Cornerstone Veterinary Clinic in Belfast. 

“We believe intrinsically in the value of supporting and promoting our team as the best way to grow our business and provide the best possible service to our clients and patients, and that same approach will pay dividends for other veterinary practices. Because of this we fully intend to continue to campaign for the benefits of EO.”

James de le Vingne, CEO of the EOA, said: “Congratulation to Pennard Vets on winning this award. The awards recognise businesses and individuals that are delivering great employee ownership. Collectively, great employee owned businesses deliver significant uplift in productivity and performance, outperforming their non-EO counterparts across multiple impacts for employees, society, the environment and the economy.”

Pennard Vets was founded in Sevenoaks, Kent in 1890 and has eight practices, employing a 150-strong team, throughout Kent in Allington, Borough Green, Langley Park, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and West Malling. 

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