“When I left school, I went to university to study business because I wanted to work in a bank, it was either going to be a career as an air hostess or work in a bank and I decided to go for the bank and ended up working in London at one of the big multinational banks.
I realised that I missed the human contact in the work I did, I wasn’t speaking with the customers, it was all in front of a screen, so I took myself back to college and trained in care – I did a degree in forensic mental health and care management.
I think my interest in care came from my childhood, my dad is a vicar, and my Mum was a nurse, so I grew up in a family that had a very caring nature; so, I threw caution to the wind, left my career in banking, and went to be a domestic in a care home! I wanted to start completely at the bottom.
I did two days a week at college doing my NVQ’s in care management, following on from that I started to work as a chef, then as a carer, then a senior carer, then when I was working with the learning disabilities, I had the wonderful opportunity to become a deputy manager, this gave me a lot of confidence and made me realise I could do things myself.
So, at a young age of 24, I started running my own home as a registered manager and I absolutely loved it! For me, I feel that so much emphasis goes on when we come into the world with much celebration and so much love, yet when we leave the world, it’s very much not talked about, very hush, hush. I wanted to make a difference as to how we leave the world, still with as much love and celebration.
I worked as a registered manager, regional manager, compliance director, all different kinds of roles within the care sector for the next fifteen years. I was contacted by The Chaseley Trust in 2020 to see if when the current CEO retired if I would be interested in taking over. I was and still am incredibly flattered to be in this role, so in February 2021 I joined The Chaseley Trust as CEO.
It’s a trust, and a charity that really empowers you, it really gets under your skin. The client group that we work with predominantly are adults with progressive neurological conditions, such as Huntington’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Stroke, but we also care for members of the community that have had accidents, through no fault of their own that have left them with a permanent brain injury. So, we work a lot with rehabilitation to enable people to get back out into the community to live their lives as best as they can considering their injuries.
It can be misunderstood that just one tiny thing that you do, that you can take for granted might have such a huge impact on their lives, there’s a lot of restrictions they have on things that we do automatically in our day-to-day, that they have to work hard to achieve. If I can get a smile or a laugh from someone in one day, then I’ll go home happy. We have the most vivacious characters with the biggest dreams and my role is to make sure those dreams still happen, I find it an honour to be here!
We’ve just celebrated our 75th year and are looking at how we’re going to be here for the next 75 years, it’s been tough for the care sector through the pandemic and a lot of companies have struggled immensely throughout this period. Our plan is to completely refurbish this beautiful building over the next fifteen years to make sure that the building is here for another 75 years, enabling us to grow. That’s part of the plan, but also, we plan to develop our therapy service team and expand more into the community, in respective areas of care that are currently not covered in this area of Eastbourne and East Sussex. So that’s still in development, but for me, it’s looking at whether we can assist more with paediatric care. Personally speaking, I know friends and family that have had to travel to Kent or out of the area to get that level of care that their youngsters need.
It’s unlike anywhere I’ve ever worked before and I absolutely love it, and I feel so privileged to have this role and be here, I’m also lucky to have the most incredible team of staff, that have as much drive and passion as I do.”
“I’ve been a resident here at Chaseley for nearly eleven years, I was a heating and ventilation fitter when I fell through a floor after slipping, I knocked myself out and was unconscious and am now paralysed on my right hand-side.
The people here are alright; especially Trina, it’s like being back at school really. On Mondays I like to do art, I like to paint and draw the scenery outside, we do a whole variety of stuff – sometimes we have lunch out, we go to the beach, have coffee out, look around Meads village, go to garden centres and I love going to the theatre! We have two different exercises every day, I take part in most of them, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, we’ve got woodwork today and I enjoy that, I’ve made some chairs and a shelve that I store my CDs on.
Everyone here are like an extended family for me.”
“I’ve got Multiple Sclerosis and It’s gotten worse; I feel like I’ve been here too long … I enjoy my massages and I have physio once a week as well as enjoying Bingo, I don’t do all of these in one go – the things I can do now are becoming a bit more restrictive. I was very good at art and sold many paintings. I enjoy winning at bingo, as well as taking part in the quiz, and winning; I won this week!
I’ve got some very good friends here, Hilary, Corrine, Kath, Brenda, and I’ve known Sue a long time too and I get on well with Graham as we like to talk about football, my neighbour Nick gives me fudge, he’s a really generous guy, like a Father Christmas that goes around in his chair giving people treats.
The best thing about the Chaseley Trust is the people, as well as the view! I get on really well with Val, she’s part of the wellbeing team and I have a lot of time for her, we go shopping and I love the cinema. I love my own room here, I have my own furniture and it’s one of the nicest rooms in the building, lots of pictures on my walls and my collection of Dolls Houses.”
“I had a stroke in 2005 after an operation, I had three aneurysms operated on in my head and when I came round from the operation, I nearly lost my life – thank god I didn’t.
I’ve been here for eleven years, and I’ve got the best room in the house, it has the best view out to sea, and I share it with my beautiful budgie Molly.
My husband Barry had been coming down from London every weekend to stay with me before COVID, he still comes down regularly with my sister and they will be down here next week because it’s my 64th birthday! We will be going out for lunch; we like to go to Yummy Noodles so that will be a treat and then off for a coffee in Meads village.
Most days I go down to the Kasbah to take part in the activities, it’s got a Costa feel to it with alcohol involved and it’s the main place where most people come to socialise, it’s a very sociable area, a bit like coming down to your lounge – we call it wine o’clock.”
Chaseley is an independent charity-owned care home located in a stunning location on Eastbourne’s seafront. We provide specialist, complex nursing care for adults with a wide range of neurological and physical disabilities such as, spinal injury, acquired and traumatic brain injury, stroke, loss of limbs and progressive conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone and Parkinson’s Disease. Our main age group is 18 – 65 years and we provide short term respite for up to 3 months or permanent residential care.
We are governed by the simple principle that our residents are at the heart of everything we do. It is important that our staff share our values and that is why we recruit people who will go the extra mile for the people we support. Staff and residents work in partnership to make this happen within our unique, warm, and friendly environment here at Chaseley.
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