“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.”

Emma Rich-Spice

The Chaseley Trust