Motorway at night

Cumbria business more than doubles its headcount despite pandemic

Carlisle’s Just R has grown from six staff to 13, with support from a Lancaster University Management School programme, Cumbria Forum.

A Cumbrian business, which supports NHS trusts and healthcare organisations to attract and retain the best people, has more than doubled the size of its team during the pandemic, growing from six staff to 13.

Since spring 2020, Carlisle firm, Just R, has taken on a new director of communications and impact, creative director, project and brand manager, two candidate consultants and a creative account manager. The new recruits are already enabling the firm, which works with more than 40 healthcare organisations, to expand its partnerships with providers across the UK.

Founder and CEO, Rachael Bagshaw, says: “We have been fortunate that the appetite for the support we provide to the NHS and other healthcare bodies has increased during the pandemic. There has never been a more important time for trusts to find and keep the right people.’’

Rachael has been supported in her ambitions to further build the consultancy thanks to her participation in The Cumbria Forum, a four-month online programme from Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), which has been created to help the county’s SMEs to grow sustainably.

Created and delivered by leading business experts and world-class LUMS academics, the programme is part of Cumbria Growth Hub’s offerings to SMEs in the county. Places are fully-funded for eligible businesses by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Rachael says: “I was ready to launch a growth strategy for Just R before taking part in The Cumbria Forum and it provided the space and time I needed to lift myself out of the day-to-day running of the business.

“When I stepped back, it became clear that I needed to focus more on our team strategy and processes. To get Just R into the best position to move forward, we needed to get the right people ‘on the bus’.

“The programme allowed me to build on my expertise in business development strategy and planning. That knowledge, when put together with the peer learning environment where all the delegates came together to share experiences and ideas, was really powerful. It enabled me to think clearly about where I want the business to be and how our recruitment strategy is contributing to that vision.

“I’m so proud of our skilled and dedicated team who are all driving towards delivering the Just R strategy and a great service for our partners.”

Rachael’s aspirations for Just R don’t stop here. She says: “We have considerable growth plans. I want to continue to grow our fantastic team of people and offer them great jobs in a great place to work.”

The Cumbria Forum is currently delivered online over four months, with a focus on organisations of the future. Delegates cover topics including business resilience, innovation and leadership, under an overarching theme of responsible recovery.

The next cohorts begin on 15 June and 22 September 2021.

For more information, eligibility criteria and to apply, email, call 01524 593709 or visit

This initiative is part of the ERDF Growth Hub project which is receiving £2, 528,767 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, with a £5,057,533 project total. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

  • European Regional Development Fund
  • Lancaster University Management School
  • Cumbria Business Growth Hub