Nicola Brooks, the Vice-chair of not-for-profit care village operator, Belong, has been appointed Chair of the organisation. She succeeds the outgoing Roger Hoyle, who steps down after four years in the post and nine years on the Board, having steered the organisation through its transformation to focus exclusively on the care village model.

As former Head of HR Operations at Cheshire County Council, Nicola joined Belong’s Board in 2011 as a non-executive director. During this time, she has provided valuable HR expertise to guide the highly-rated organisation’s people policies and culture and took on the post of Vice-chair in 2015.

Nicola has also worked as an independent HR consultant for a group of independent schools and academies, focusing on employee relations and school mergers, as well as providing HR consultancy in smaller third sector organisations. Her time with Cheshire County Council, working across every department including social care, acted as a catalyst for her move to Belong.

On her appointment, Nicola commented: “I am delighted to be taking up this post and I look forward to continuing Roger’s legacy as we enter the next phase of Belong’s expansion. It was a privilege to work alongside Roger, who has been a level-headed supportive figure and has brought a wealth of experience from the health sector to the team. He leaves a confident, effective Board that collaborates well together.”

As Chair, Nicola’s main objectives will be to oversee the organisation’s continued expansion plans, as well as maintaining Belong’s reputation as a standard bearer and innovator in the social care space.  At a time when the nurse recruitment shortage is hitting social care hard, Nicola recognises the importance of differentiating the organisation through progressive people policies and Belong’s unique approach to village nursing.

Commenting on the appointment, Tracey Stakes, Chief Executive of Belong said: “We are thrilled to have Nicola as Chair at what is such an exciting time of growth for our organisation. She is a passionate advocate for the village care model that enables us to provide class-leading services. We welcome her contribution as we continue to take the Belong model and ethos to new areas of the country in the upcoming years”.