Following national recognition for the work it does, we take a look at a High Wycombe business that matches individuals to professional house and pet sitters across the world.

HouseSitMatch, an online network which enables home and pet owners to find sitters through a managed website, was founded in 2013 by Lamia Walker, 52, from High Wycombe, after she spotted a gap in the market for the service which won the Guardian Small Business Network competition earlier this year.

She said the idea for the business stemmed from her enjoyment of looking after homes and pets, and wanted to offer a service which helped other people with that, describing it as “a little like but for pets and homes”.

She said: “What better venture to start than something you care about?

“The service is ideal for those who want to experience a new area as they get free accommodation for a period of time in exchange for house or pet-sitting, and great for those who want a pet or house looked after while they are away.”

The business helped an Alzheimer’s sufferer from Maidenhead find an emergency dog sitter within 10 minutes when she was unexpectedly hospitalised after a fall at her home.

Ms Walker added: “We’ve been building our list of responsible and trustworthy house and pet-sitters since we launched over the last three years and we now have a good known membership of reliable and trusted sitters we can call upon in a crisis should the need arise.”

The company also offers a private client service where Lamia and her team vet each sitter and match individuals closely to preferred sitters. The extra fee includes a police check.

Ms Walker uses HouseSitMatch to find sitters for herself and has offered to look after a pet and home in Paris when a prior arrangement unexpectedly fell through.

The business now has members in more than 20 countries.