There are many specialist bed companies out there but it’s safe to say that Bakare is one of the few that has come about as a direct result of a heartfelt desire to help sick people sleep well.
Bakare Beds was conceived in 1989 when John Baker was looking for ways to help his uncle Ron who was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. At the time John was running a business selling fold-down wall-beds but his inventive mind was keen to create a bed that would help give his uncle more comfort, dignity and independence.
In collaboration with his existing bed manufacturer – a company called Pardo based in Spain, John came up with a prototype bed for his uncle. At the time there were very few options when it came to variable posture beds; they were typically metal-framed and unattractive hospital-style beds which looked horribly institutional and out of place in home environments. However, the bed that John devised for his uncle combined all the functionality of a hospital care bed with a far more appealing design. The bed could be raised and lowered to make it easier to transfer to a wheelchair and had a profiling lying surface which could enable Ron to sit up to drink, eat, read and watch TV. In creating the bed, John was also striving for an aesthetic that could complement existing bedroom furnishings and provide maximum comfort.
For Ron, the bed made a huge difference. He no longer felt “hospitalised”, and the remote-control features gave him back his dignity and a measure of independence while still ensuring he could lie or sit comfortably.
Following this success, John realised that others in his uncle’s situation could benefit from his design and he decided to turn it into a business. With the help of his wife Wendy, an NHS nurse with extensive experience of helping patients with spinal injuries, he founded Bakare Beds Limited in 1993.
Since then, the “Ron” prototype has evolved into one of Bakare ’s most popular products. The Evolution Residential bed combines incredible functionality with an attractively appointed bed with quality wooden finish. The main purpose of the bed is to ensure users feel comfortable while also getting back their dignity and independence. The Evolution Residential bed can go down to a very low height which means there is less risk of injury from bed falls, boosting users’ feelings of security, and it’s also considerably easier to get into bed. The bed can still be raised to a suitable height to enable carers to work safely and comfortably.
Four years after Bakare launched, the company was invited by the innovative German bed manufacturer Volker to become sole UK importer of their prestigious range of healthcare beds. Volker’s beds were a breakthrough in care bed design and John’s collaboration with his German partner has contributed to many of the unique features of the Volker bed program of today.
John’s wife Wendy also played a key role in helping to build the company and, since John’s passing away in late 2017, has stayed on as a director while John’s son Steve has been appointed chief executive.
There are currently around 20 members of staff at Bakare, including many who have worked there since the late 90s. Headquartered in Plymouth, with an additional service and distribution centre in Sheffield, Bakare now supports clients all over the UK & Ireland from Penzance to the Shetland Islands. Customers are also able to receive advice on Bakare products at disabled living centres and foundations right across the country.
John’s son Steve said: “The core of our business has always been about helping people regain their dignity and sense of independence through technical innovation and exceptional functionality while also creating beds that are comfortable and look good in any environment. That’s how Bakare started, and we have kept this ethos throughout Bakare ’s history. If you’re confined to bed for most – or all of the time, then your bed really becomes your whole world so it’s vitally important that it looks good, performs well and can stand the test of time. We’re very proud of what we do at Bakare and we know from our outstanding customer feedback that we are playing a big part in enhancing people’s quality of life.”