NCF Rising Stars Programme


2019 NCF Rising Stars


Applications are now closed for 2019 programme

The NCF strategy incorporates a strong focus on leadership. The programme provides an opportunity for those shining lights in NCF member organisations to develop leadership skills through an annual programme of mentoring and activities.

10 places are available each year and open to Managers and Registered Managers in social care and support in NCF member organisations.

Applying organisations also commit to providing a mentor for the programme, who agrees to meet / contact the Rising Star at least 4 times in the year’s programme as well as attend some of the activities.

The programme begins with the successful candidates being given a free place to attend the NCF Annual Conference thanks to the sponsorship of Annual Partners Carterwood.  All accepted Rising Stars and Mentors commit to attending the NCF UK Care Conference for their introductory meeting to the programme and each other.

The conference programme gives the opportunity to engage with the conference programme, learn of key policy developments, best practice innovations and challenges facing the strategic thinkers within the sector.

During the conference there is a dedicated session for the Rising Stars and Mentors provided by Apetito where they are introduced to a programme of support that will run throughout the year.

Click on the link for details on the programme activities:

  • Free attendance at the NCF Annual Conference with thanks for Carterwood
  • Free attendance at the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards Ceremony, thanks to CMM + half day session with Vic Rayner
  • Free attendance at the NCF Managers Conference with thanks to Person Centred Software
  • Visit to WCS Innovation Hub WCS Castle Brook, Kenilworth
  • Media training with Altural
  • Diet and Nutrition tour with Apetito
  • Technology and Data day with Person Centred Software
  • Staff Recruitment and Retention Masterclass with Neil Eastwood, Founder of Care Friends
  • Each Rising Star shares their journey with CMM in a monthly feature – you can read them here
  • 4 mentoring sessions per annum – each Rising Star is matched to a mentor in type of provision and / or closest location

If you are interested in applying for the 2020 programme please contact Helen Glasspool.

“I have met with {my mentor} twice now and we are due to arrange a third meeting, we have also had contact via email.  It’s been really helpful as she has shared documentation with me that I can use within my service and a recent visit to some of their services was extremely beneficial.  I have been able to meet with some of their managers and discuss with them some of the issues I’ve faced and they have shared what improvements they have made to their services.  This has been a great support as I have been able to take forward their way of working to improve the protocol for admissions to my service.”

Lesley Henderson, Service Manager, Sefton New Directions, Chase Heys Respite and Intermediate Care Service

“I wanted to become a Rising Star to build up my support network, knowledge and skills. In this career, we never stop learning, so to have access to a wide network is something not to be missed.”

Beccy Ingleton, Registered Manager, Parkhaven Trust

“I was really pleased to be chosen, to know that someone sees potential in me and that I’m working hard to achieve the best for the people I support.”

Katie Reynolds, Registered Manager, Look Ahead, CMM interview


Vic Rayner details the new NCF Rising Stars initiative and how it is leadership in action – Read the Straight Talk article from CMM here.

CMM interviews with Risings Stars

NCF Rising Stars

2018 Programme

17 – 18 April – NCF Annual Conference 2018, Reading

14 June – Diet and Nutrition day with Apetito, Trowbridge, Somerset

20 September – Technology Day with Person Centred Software, Guildford

12 – 13 November – NCF Managers Conference, Chesford Grange, Kenilworth, Warwickshire

13 November – Castle Brook tour & WCS Innovation Hub, Warwickshire

21 November – Invitation to celebrate 30 years of ‘A POSITIVE CHOICE’ at the House of Lords, Residential Forum

7 December – The Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards – The London Marriott Grosvenor Square, & Rising Star meeting with Vic Rayner

12 February 2019 – Media Training Day – Altura Learning

8 April – Recruitment and Retention Masterclass – Neil Eastwood, Care Recruitment Specialist

Additional CPD support from Care Management Matters

21 June – CMM Insight Learning Disability and Mental Health Services,  The Renaissance Hotel, Manchester

27 September – CMM Insight – The Lancashire Care Conference – Mercure Dunkenhalgh, Blackburn

11 October –  CMM Insight – The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Care Association Conference – Windsor Marriott Hotel, Windsor

Recruitment and Retention – a Masterclass with Neil Eastwood

As the final event of the NCF Rising Stars 2018 Programme, we are focussed on one of the biggest challenges Managers and Leaders in Social Care will face in the coming years – Finding and Keeping Quality Staff.

We were delighted to have Neil Eastwood, author of Saving Social Care and an international speaker on this topic, to run an interactive workshop, held at Anthony Collins LLP on 8 April.

To help the NCF Rising Stars master recruitment and retention best practices, Neil shared his approaches to attracting, sourcing, selection, on-boarding and long-term retention of frontline care staff.

It was to a high-energy, fun and instructive session to end the NCF Rising Stars programme. Attendees received signed copies of Neil’s book, Saving Social Care, and lifetime access to his online Recruitment Masterclass course! A fantastic support and resource to have all Neil’s tips and advice close to hand during the development of their careers.

In the spot light – Media Training for NCF Rising Stars

On 13 February the NCF Rising Stars visited Altura Learning in Milton Keynes to experience what it is like in front of the camera and behind the scenes, something Altura Learning offers to their members to highlight best practice in the industry.

Exposure to the media provides excellent opportunities to publicise an organisation and for the NCF Rising Stars the chance to positively promote the role of the Registered Managers in social care.

The Media Skills Training provided by Altura Learning, enables development of communication skills, advice to deliver effective and successful messages, techniques to cope with unexpected and challenging questions and to build confidence.

The day provided The NCF Rising Stars training in 3 different skills sets:
How to read and monitor an autocue
1-2-1 interview skills for radio and audio recordings
TV Interview with resident interviewer Matthew Macnamara

What did you take away from the day?

“Tips in relation to body language/posture, to be confident, be relaxed (or appear relaxed)!” said Carl Jones from Making Space.

“Give yourself time to think, don’t answer if unsure, get across your message” replied Nadine from MHA

The critical role of the Registered Manager is acknowledged across the Social Care sector. S

kills for Care state

“The role of registered managers is critical in the adult social care sector… Registered managers are highly committed individuals running a range of 

services and the personal rewards of the role can be great, with many managers talking about their role as a ‘passion’ not just a job. That means support for this key group of leaders is vital.”

With the support of Altura Learning, the NCF Rising Stars were given training in skills that they will use regularly as well as in media situations.

“The skills that I have learnt will be used daily, the techniques to answer difficult question, being aware of facial expressions that are used.” 

said Caroline Coogan, Registered Managers from New Outlook Housing Association.

We are grateful for the support of our Annual Partner Altura Learning who are able to offer this important investment in Registered Managers in NCF membership. Great things happen when we work together!

Photo – NCF Rising Stars: Carl Jones, from Making Space, Anna Lewkowicz from The Orders of St John Care Trust, Lena Norman from Look Ahead Care, Julie Veritiero from Boroughcare, Nadine Webster from MHA and Caroline Coogan from New Outlook, and Sam Stuart from WCS Care

During the year long programme the NCF Rising Stars have been interviews by CMM, documenting their career journey and experience of taking part in the NCF Rising Star Programme.

NCF Rising Star Carl Jones improves leadership at Swallow Lodge and received glowing CQC report

The report, which was produced after an inspection in October, has upgraded leadership from ‘requiring improvement’ to ‘good’. Manager Carl Jones (NCF Rising Star) took over the running of Swallow Lodge in October 2017, and the latest report notes that the service

“was well led, the registered manager was visible and supportive towards the people in their care, their relatives and the staff who worked at the service.”

“Relatives felt their views and opinions about their family members were listened to”


Rising Stars attend The Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards – The London Marriott Grosvenor Square to celebrate good practice

On 7 December Vic Rayner and Sharon Blackburn CBE were joined by the NCF Rising Stars – Nick Rickwood from RAFA, Julie Veritiero from Borough Care and Olu Yusuf from Accord who later tweeted about the NCF Rising Star Programme:

“I am loving every bit of it and it’s really adding great value to my experience in social care improving my work ethics and personality as well. Thanks for the opportunity given. @vicrayner Your effort with we Rising stars is most appreciated. Amazing experience.”

The NCF Rising Stars met with leading people in the care sector including Andrea Sutcliffe and Sharon Allen OBE and had the opportunity to spend time with the Chelsea Pensioners from the Royal Hospital Chelsea who opened the Awards and also sang later in the proceedings with the children from St Joseph’s Roman Catholic primary school.














NCF Risings Stars Programme 2019 – Confirmed Event Dates

5 June – NCF Annual Conference 2019 – Shaping the Agenda for Great Care

3 July – Diet and Nutrition day with apetito, Trowbridge, Somerset

16 July – Meeting with Care Minister

26 September – Technology Day with Person Centred Software

CMM official media partners to the NCF Rising Star Programme – monthly interview with each NCF Rising Star in Care Management Matters Magazine

NCF Rising Stars meeting with Care Minister

On the 16th July 2019 the latest cohort of NCF Rising Stars were invited to attend a roundtable with Care Minister Caroline Dinenage MP. This group of leaders within the care sector had been selected to be Rising Stars by their organisations. New to management within their organisation, they had been identified as real movers within their teams who are committed to creating change and leadership.

The Minister was very interested to hear about the managers’ career to date – with many sharing their story of having joined the organisations as care workers, bank staff or cleaners – and having moved their way up through the career ladder in care. In addition, there were opportunities to talk about the innovations that managers had in place to support the delivery of great care and the challenges that they faced in their day to day work. They were able to provide her with a true picture of their day to day experience as a manager – sharing their ambitions for their services and the sector as a whole.

The Care Minister reflected on the recent recruitment campaign #everydayisdifferent and how strongly she felt about the central role of care in supporting people to live as independently as they can, with a personal approach sitting right at the core. She complimented the managers on their infectious passion and drive for delivering care. She noted how delighted she had been to spend time with the leaders of the future.

Rising Stars were drawn from the following organisations:
Abbeyfield Society, Amica Care Trust, Avante Care and Support, The Fremantle Trust, Friends of the Elderly, GuildCare, NorseCare, Optalis, Pilgrims’ Friends Society, The Salvation Army and St Monica Trust.

If you have any questions relating to the NCF Rising Stars programme, please contact [email protected]

NCF Rising Stars visit apetito

The NCF Rising Stars Diet and Nutrition Day, attended by both the Rising Stars and their mentors, took place on Wednesday 3rd July.

The day, held at apetito Head Office in Trowbridge, allowed the Rising Stars to learn about dysphagia from Helen Willis, Dietitian at apetito. They also heard from Laura Hardman,

Ethical and Sustainable Manager at apetito, who led a discussion on what ethical trade and sustainability means in the care sector.

Lisa Delaney, Care Homes Sales Manager at apetito, said, “At apetito, we are great supporters of the Rising Star programme and so it was an

honour to host the rising stars and their mentors for the Diet and Nutrition Day. As a leading provider of food to the health and social care sector, we pride ourselves on being experts in diet and nutrition.

The day provided a great opportunity for rising leaders to learn and understand how food plays an important role in the health and well-being of those in their care.”

Our thanks to apetito for hosting an other fabulous day.

NCF Rising Stars Programme – the 2019 cohort start their leadership development journey

The 2019 cohort of NCF Rising Stars start their programme at NCF Annual Conference 2019 with a lunch specially provided by apetito and with thanks to Carterwood.

Supported by annual partners, the NCF Rising Star programme provides an opportunity for those shining lights in NCF member organisations to develop leadership skills through an annual programme of mentoring and activities.

10 places are available each year and open to Managers and Registered Managers in social care and support in NCF member organisations.

Find out more email: [email protected]


NCF Rising Stars Kelly Hartley interview with CMM.

Career history

I started my career in the British Army, where I spent 12 years as a healthcare assistant. When I left, I wanted to go into social care and I joined The Fremantle Trust in 2004 as a care worker looking after older people.

Soon after that, I moved to a learning disability service where I worked my way up to assistant manager.

My husband’s work took us abroad for three years, but I knew when I came back to England that I wanted to re-join The Fremantle Trust. They didn’t have any senior positions available so I joined as a care worker again, before becoming senior care worker and then assistant manager again within 18 months.

I’ve spent my whole social care career with The Fremantle Trust and I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. They’ve helped me develop into the manager I am now. They knew I wanted to work my way up to registered manager and so when I got promoted to deputy manager, they sent me to work with a manager in London for 18 months to develop my skills. I’m now a registered manager at Cherry Garth care home.


Cherry Garth is a 60-bed residential care home for older people, including those living with dementia. We care for them from very early stages of needing support through to the end of their lives.

We have an engaging activity programme which gets us really heavily involved with our local community. We use the village hall for boules, have parties at the school, invite the church to hold services in the home and have a Strollers Club so residents can go for walks around the village.

We were runners-up for community engagement in the Dignity in Care Awards with Buckinghamshire County Council, and we are very well known in the village – lots of residents come from the local area.

Our reputation is spread by word of mouth, so we don’t need to do a lot of advertising, and lots of our employees live locally too.

Current role

I’ve been a registered manager for just over a year now. I wanted the job so that I could improve the lives of people I care for in a bigger way.

I’m passionate and innovative, and I want people to have what’s best for them. I have always had ideas about ways we can develop services.

Being a registered manager means I can implement some of these ideas to give residents more – we’ve put in a bar and a library and we’ve just turned an unused room in the home into a craft room. We’re also opening a coffee shop which will be named and run by the residents, whose families will be able to come in and support them by helping out too.
Something I’m really proud of is our sensory garden. The outside space wasn’t used much when I first came here, but we’ve made it a vibrant and interactive space with lots of places to sit, and everybody loves it now.

For me, being a manager is also about improving the lives of your employees. I see it as a responsibility to support them if they are facing things in their personal lives – you have to recognise that people have issues outside of their work and help them with these as far as you can to get the best out of them.

This is a job where you learn as you do. You see a manager sitting at their desk, while you’re rushing around on the floor and dealing with emergencies, and you think that it looks straightforward. But the truth is, some days I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.
I love the job but it’s definitely more difficult than I ever anticipated. The marketing, financial and HR side of things makes it complex. I knew about budgets as a deputy, but you have to consider occupancy levels and agency costs within this.

It can also be quite lonely. I’m lucky at The Fremantle Trust as there are other managers within the organisation I can pick up the phone to. My own manager is really supportive which helps and I feel extremely encouraged in my role.

Even though it’s hard sometimes, the job is better than I ever expected. I get really excited when our plans come together and I’ve never felt so fulfilled.

When I did care work, I loved it, and even though I have other responsibilities, I do still get to do that. I’m not a manager who just sits in the office – I frequently sit with residents for a chat and I make sure I support with breakfast and lunch.

I love seeing employees and residents happy. I wish more people would work in care as we put our all into supporting residents and it can be hard to get cover when people are sick or need shifts swapped.

I’ve done a huge recruitment drive though and we have reduced our agency hours in the last year by two thirds, so I’m really pleased about that.

NCF Rising Stars

I didn’t know anything about NCF Rising Stars when I was nominated. My manager nominated me and I had to research the programme. I read up on it but didn’t really grasp the scale of the programme until I went to the NCF annual conference and met the other Rising Stars.
I am so happy to be chosen. It’s such a privilege and it means a lot that my organisation saw potential in me and recognised the work I do.

I’m going to meet with my mentor, Helen Woodland to get some new ideas for Cherry Garth and am looking forward to the guidance she can give me. I’m also really looking forward to having the support and getting to go to all the NCF Rising Star events, especially the managers’ conference.

Rising Stars is a fantastic opportunity and I feel really privileged and honoured that I’ve been selected by NCF. Everyone has been so lovely and made me feel really special. The whole experience has been brilliant. I was so nervous going to meet everyone but was made to feel so welcome. It’s a fantastic thing and I’m hugely appreciative to be part of it. I look forward to being part of NCF for the rest of my career now.

Future Career

In the future, I would probably like to become a director. It’s not something I aspire to at the moment, because I like being in the home. For now, I’m setting my sights on aiming for an Outstanding rating in my next inspection, which is due any time!

I want to keep developing the service and getting residents involved in things so that we are offering the best service we can.

Hopefully being a part of the Rising Stars programme will help with this, as I can talk to others and get advice and guidance. Attending the events has already given me so much inspiration too.


For aspiring registered managers, I would say always ask for help, even if you think the question is stupid – just ask.

Someone once told me, ‘You don’t know that you don’t know something until you don’t know it’. I stand by that and believe there’s no such thing as a stupid question.

I am lucky to be very well supported by my organisation and I think other companies should make sure they are doing this.

It’s been so important to have had support from all departments, especially HR – they are invaluable.

NCF Rising Stars Charlotte Sehmi interview with CMM.


Career history

My career didn’t start off in care – I wasn’t the best in school and when I left I did a lot of temping jobs.

I came into the care sector eight years ago working for a domiciliary service for elderly people. I fell in love with the job and the feeling that you can make a positive difference to people’s lives.

I moved to Optalis and joined their team for domiciliary dementia support. I’m a huge people person and I’m ambitious and I felt that the higher you climb in an organisation, the more change you can make. I spent two years in that role before becoming a senior support worker, then operational lead.

A year after that, I decided I wanted something different, and I saw an opportunity come up at Suffolk Lodge as deputy manager. This was my first experience of working in residential care – I learnt so much there from the manager and the people I worked with and supported. I really loved it.

A year into my role at Suffolk Lodge, I became Registered Manager for two care homes Optalis runs, Homeside Close and Winston Court.


I manage two residential care homes for people with learning disabilities. They’re small homes with eight people in each. They’re quite close to each other so I’m often going from one to the other, splitting my time between the two. I have a deputy manager in each home and two teams of brilliant staff.

The people we look after have varying levels of needs. Some are mobile while others need hoisting, some communicate verbally, some through Makaton (which I’m learning and think is great) and some can’t communicate at all.

One of our homes is rated Good by the Care Quality Commission but the other doesn’t have a Good rating and that’s something we need to work on. I knew when I took the role that I would need to make changes, but I find this really motivating.

We have our next inspection in October and I’m looking forward to making sure we’ve got everything in place ready for it. I know the team is amazing – they’ve built great relationships with the residents and the quality of care leaves nothing wanting, but we need to firm up processes and procedures so I’m working on getting that side of things done.

Current role

I’ve been in my role a month, so it’s not been very long! I knew to expect the challenges of being a registered manager, especially taking on a lower-rated service. But I would hate to be bored so am glad that there are challenges for me to tackle.

In my previous roles I had responsibility for paperwork so I knew that was an important part of the job, but knowing that if something goes wrong you’re held responsible is a little scary. I’m confident that we have fantastic staff who go out of their way to care for the residents – they see them more than they see their families and are so committed to them.

So far, the best part of my role is the residents. They have such big characters and it’s lovely to be around them and spend time with them. The previous registered manager had been in post for a long time and was very much loved, so I did have big shoes to fill, but the residents and staff have all welcomed me and I’m starting to build those relationships. I will always see it first and foremost as the residents’ home and make sure I ask for their opinions on any changes we are thinking of making.

The most difficult part at the moment is looking at how much needs to be done before our next CQC inspection, compared to how little time we have. I find that looking at it in bitesize chunks makes this easier and it feels like a more manageable task that way.

NCF Rising Stars

I didn’t know what the NCF Rising Stars programme was before Jeanette Crisp, our Director of HR and Corporate Services, said they wanted to nominate me. I went away and did some research to find out more about it and it looked amazing.

I didn’t comprehend how big it was until we were at the NCF annual conference and saw the quality of the speakers and the vastness of it and the fact they mentioned the programme there. We had a special lunch to meet our mentors and hear from experts in the sector about their journeys and how important the Rising Stars programme would be in helping us to develop.

I feel really honoured to be nominated and recognised in this way. Sometimes when you work in a management role you can feel a bit unnoticed and unappreciated, but things like this give you that confidence boost and show you that your work is being seen.

I’d like to get as much as I can out of the programme. I am excited about the networking opportunities and hearing about innovations – being able to bring that back to my service to make a difference. It’s great to have that peer support, too; the Rising Stars have a What’sApp group which we use to check in with each other if we want advice or support.

I also think that having a mentor will be good for me. I am ambitious and I want to make sure I get the most out of my career. I’m just intending to soak up as much as I can and bring it all back to my services.

So far, meeting Caroline Dinenage and discussing social care with her has been a highlight. We were given a special tour of the Houses of Parliament and told the history behind it, which was very interesting. After the tour, we were taken to meet Caroline. She was so easy to talk to and it was clear she was passionate about what she did. We all had a chance to talk about our services, what we do and ask any questions.

After that, some of us continued to explore and went into the House of Commons and the House of Lords which I have never done before. It was an amazing day from start to finish; I did get home with rather large blisters on my feet, but it was worth it! I can’t thank NCF and Caroline enough for arranging the day.

Future career

In terms of my career goals, I am really passionate about end of life care. It’s such an important part of care to get right, but it just doesn’t always go as planned.

People who want to die at home end up doing so in hospices or hospitals and I want to fix this. It’s also about supporting families so that they know their loved one has had the death they wanted. I’d love one day to help shape how end of life care is delivered nationally.


My advice to aspiring registered managers is that it can be lonely at times. Remember to reach out to other people – including peers outside of the service. There are always people who will talk to you. Also don’t be afraid to change things up. I hate when people say ‘this is how we’ve always done it’ – just because it’s always been a certain way, doesn’t mean you can’t try something new.

For senior management, I would say it’s important to share your knowledge and experiences. Let registered managers know you’ve been there. We will make our own mistakes but allow us learn from yours too.

Now in its third year, the NCF Rising Stars Programme addresses the need to invest in and develop the skills of the next generation of leaders in social care, with registered managers from the NCF membership selected to take part each year.

For more information, contact Helen Glasspool at National Care Forum. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @NCFCareForum

For all the Rising Stars Interviews with CMM: Click here