NCF Rising Stars Programme


2019-2020 NCF Rising Stars


Applications Open for the 2020-21 Rising Star Programme on 2 March 2020

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.  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 
  • 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 Altura Learning
  • 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 [email protected]


“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

“The skills that I have learnt will be used daily, particularly the techniques to answer difficult questions and being aware of facial expressions.” (Media Training Day with Altura Learning)

Caroline Coogan, Registered Manager, New Outlook

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

4-5 November – NCF Managers Conference 2019

5 November – visit to WCS Castle Brook and Innovation Hub

13 February – Media Training Day with Altura Learning

8 April – Staff Development Day with Neil Eastwood, founder Care Friends; Paul Gaudin, founder CareRooms; Kate Terroni, CEO, Care Quality Commission

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

NCF Managers Conference and WCS Castle Brook and Innovation Hub Tour

The 4-5 November were busy days for the Rising Stars. Thanks to the generosity of Person Centred Software the Managers on this leadership programme attended the NCF Managers Conference.

This conference was all about the power of the manager. Managers are fundamental to the delivery of outstanding care, and this conference is aimed at supporting managers to make the most of their own ability to deliver high quality, person centred care. It will celebrate success and provide inspiration through a wide range of workshops and top line speakers.

Day 2 started with ‘Rise and Shine with the Rising Stars‘ – Kelly Hartley from Fremantle Trust, Faye Upton from Amica Care and Charlotte Sehmi from Optalis, shared their career journey and experience of the programme with audience.

At the end of the day – 5 November – the Rising Stars jumped on board an Oomph! Out and About Bus to take them to WCS Care Castle Brook and Innovation Hub.

WCS Care uses a range of products and services, which, when combined with our values-based approach to care, help us to ensure that every day is well lived for residents.

At their home, Castle Brook in Kenilworth, they’ve implemented a range of tools, systems and approaches in an inspiring environment to enhance the dignity, choice and independence of residents, while giving team members the opportunity to bring their own personality and creativity to their role.

The Innovation Hub gives them the opportunity to share our approach with other providers (and learn from their experience), show them the systems in action in a real-life setting and try new innovations before rolling them out to our homes.


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]



After leaving college, I completed a management programme with a newsagent and managed a shop for two years before I saw an advert for a trainee clinical support worker. I moved into this role and worked on a dialysis unit where I completed an NVQ Level 3.

After a couple of years in this role, I applied to university to complete an Adult Nursing Diploma and worked as a domiciliary care worker alongside my university studies and placements.

Unfortunately, due to personal issues, I was not able to complete my nursing qualification, but I began working in a residential home for young adults with mental health issues as a senior support worker. This was where I had my first insight into care management.

After three years, I was faced with a tough decision, as I really enjoyed my position, but I wanted more of a challenge. My ambition to progress my career was strong and I applied for a role as a deputy manager in a residential care home, for a Christian organisation.

I stayed there for five years and really enjoyed my role, but my ambition began to get the better of me and I started craving more responsibility. I moved to work for a housing association as a service manager; there, I was responsible for the Sheltered Housing service, which consisted of 730 homes over 15 schemes. It was whilst working here that I achieved my Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership.

My next role was as a regional manager for a live-in care company. This covered the areas of Lancashire and Greater Manchester, supporting adults to stay at home with the support of a live-in carer. However, it has always been a goal of mine to be a registered manager and when I saw the post advertising for the role I currently hold, I just knew I had to apply for it.


The home I work in now, Holt House, is a residential care home in Prestwich, Manchester. We have 31 beds over two floors and provide care for residents over the age of 65. It is owned and run by The Salvation Army, a Christian Church and charity and we accept both private and local authority residents.

The way I see it, the residents don’t live in my workplace, I work in their home. I encourage all my staff and residents to think like this too – we especially make this clear to new starters and anyone who visits the home so that everyone comes in with the same attitude.

It’s also hugely important to me that we all know and understand our residents. I am a big believer in relationship-centred care and we give all of our care workers dedicated time each week to spend with the residents they look after, doing things that improve the relationship between them, whether that’s having a shopping trip, making someone’s room nice, or a personalised activity – the resident and care worker decide between them how they’ll spend the time.

Current role

I have been in my current role for just over a year. It has been a great year – everything I expected – but it is hard to believe a year has passed so quickly.

As a home, we have achieved so many things, from refurbishments to maintaining great outcomes in our internal and external inspections.

Personally, I love my job, knowing that every day I come to work will be different, with new challenges and pressures, but knowing that each day you get to make someone happy.

A really tricky part of the role has been recruiting and retaining staff. However we have a brilliant staff team and they all consistently go above and beyond expectations, I feel very fortunate to have them.
A motivated team is such an essential part of running my home. I like to ensure they have the tools they need to do their jobs. I also make sure they know that I understand everyone is human and mistakes will be made. I encourage people to be open and honest about anything that doesn’t go to plan and my staff know they can come to me without getting into trouble.

I also like to instil confidence and see people progress if they want to. As an ambitious person myself, I’m supportive of people’s goals. I like having a happy home and happy staff are key to this.

Rising Stars

I had been out of the charity sector for a little while before my current role, but I am always looking for ways to improve my development.

When I saw the NCF Rising Stars programme in a weekly NCF newsletter, I felt it would be a great opportunity for me as a newly registered manager. I approached my line manager about the programme and was given the go ahead to apply; our Deputy Director of Older People’s Services, Glenda Roberts nominated me. I was really uplifted seeing what was written about me. It gave me affirmation that I’m doing well and achieving goals.

The opportunities that I have encountered so far as a Rising Star have completely blown me away; the networking, having a supportive team of other managers on the programme and the visits have been really worthwhile.

The main thing that has made a difference to me is the networking. We can all share best practice, and we look at each other’s CQC reports and support each other through the good and bad.

Another unexpected outcome of the programme has come from attending a technology day in September with Person Centred Software. I was made aware of funded training being offered from the NCF and Skills for Care – Digital Leadership Training. I was successful in securing a place, which is perfect timing, as we are about to pilot digitalised care planning.

Future career

For my next steps, I would like to complete a degree in business management and expand my strategic knowledge at a senior level. I am also interested in innovation and assistive technologies which can aid service delivery.


If I were offering advice to new or aspiring registered managers, I would say to believe in yourself and your abilities. As long as you are driven and passionate, you will succeed in what you wish to achieve.

NCF Rising Stars are provided with key leadership experiences delivered by the expertise of NCF partners.

In February, the current cohort will visit Altura Learning, the online and blended training and learning provider, for a media skills training day.

In a consumer-led society, it is important for managers to not only be person-centred in their care provision but also focused on the importance of building relationships. As ambassadors for their service and organisation, managers need to have an understanding of how they present themselves and their customer service skills.

Caroline Coogan, Registered Manager, New Outlook (2018 Rising Star) said, ‘The skills that I have learnt will be used daily, particularly the techniques to answer difficult questions and being aware of facial expressions.’

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

Read all the CMM Rising Star Interviews HERE