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New manager takes the helm at Chester’s intergenerational village

Not-for-profit dementia specialist Belong has named Caroline Ray as the new general manager for its Chester village, with the highly experienced care leader taking the helm of the pioneering intergenerational community.


Caroline’s brief will see her heading up the community made up of adults in their 60s and older who share their home with children aged 0 – 5 years from the integrated Nursery in Belong, operated by national early years charity, Ready Generations.


The ‘grandfriends’, who’ve chosen to reside in either 24-hour care households or one of 23 independent living apartments, have the option to spend time with the youngsters as part of a vibrant programme of intergenerational opportunities, as well as through spontaneous experiences in the village. Belong’s home care service, Belong at Home, also operates from the site.


Speaking of her appointment, Caroline Ray, general manager at Belong Chester, said: “I’m very excited that my next career step is at this wonderful community for all ages. Our intergenerational village has been attracting national and international attention since its official opening, last year, on the back of the compelling benefits being experienced by young and old alike.”


In recent months, the City Road site has welcomed TV cameras from the BBC, ITV and international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle. National and local newspaper and radio journalists have also paid a visit to share news of the positive wellbeing outcomes for older people, as well as remarkable developments for the nursery children.


Among Caroline’s plans include expanding the village’s experiences and activities programme and raising awareness of its day specialist day care service, Experience Days. She will also be maintaining the group’s Gold Investors in People accreditation as it continues to champion the local workforce with extensive training and professional development opportunities for those interested in building a career in care.


The latest move in a career spanning more than three decades sees her join from sister village Belong Macclesfield, where her inspirational leadership saw its team pick up a number of industry accolades, including an ‘outstanding’ score for its care provision from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), as part of an overall ‘good’ rating. It also holds the Platinum Gold Standards Framework status for end-of-life care provision.


Sue Goldsmith, Belong chief operating officer, added: “We’re very pleased to appoint Caroline to head up our Chester team. She has an intricate knowledge of our organisation, our customers’ needs and with her proven track record ensuring exceptional standards of care, we’re more than confident she will be an asset to the village.”

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