A New Kind of Charity
Carefree was started in the summer of 2016 by two brothers, Charlie and James Ricketts, whose own experiences motivated them to launch an initiative in support of unpaid carers. Having tested the concept in Cornwall and witnessed the extraordinary impact on carers’ wellbeing, they moved the operation to London in early 2017 and began looking for seed funds. In July 2017 they were awarded a place on an accelerator for charitable ventures with outstanding potential and, not long afterwards, the first round of funding was secured.
In October 2017, Charlotte Newman (now CEO) joined the team and the charity was officially incorporated a month later, just as work on the first version of the booking platform began. The initial automated pilots in 2018 and 2019 enabled hundreds of carers to enjoy breaks in hotels and holiday cottages throughout the UK and further revealed the transformative potential of Carefree’s pioneering sharing economy model.
In 2019, Carefree won Breakthrough Charity of the Year at the Third Sector Awards and was awarded multi-year funding by the National Lottery Community Fund, the Postcode Innovation Trust and a number of other prestigious grantmakers. In November 2020, the charity gained further recognition by winning the Sustainability prize at the Skift Innovation, Design and Experience Awards, which celebrate “the big ideas defining the future of travel.” The organisation continues to grow, developing a purpose-built technology platform and forging relationships with numerous private and public sector partners to drive forward a radical solution to systemic challenges within the UK’s social care sector.
Charlotte Newman (CEO)
Charlotte joined Carefree shortly before its incorporation and has led the development of its model, product and strategy. She has previously launched impact initiatives across the Middle East & Asia, working with businesses, donors and governments to strengthen the socio-economic integration of minority groups. As a committed advocate of new economic thinking and digital transformation, she has helped many charities reshape their infrastructure and delivery processes and implement sustainable models of social intervention.
Joey Ceunen (CTO)
Joey is an innovative, people-focused entrepreneur with a rich mix of experience in hospitality and technology. He has founded and exited two start-ups, led operational teams for Morgans Hotel Group across London and spent years volunteering for charities across Europe. Joey leads the growing digital team, shaping the tech engine that powers Carefree’s social intervention, devising new solutions to entrenched social challenges, and working with the latest technology and no-code tools in a data-driven way to drive our impact.
Peter C. (Director of Sustainability & Impact)
Peter has developed and led successful teams in national and international NGOs, with experience of revenue strategy, planning and operations. He previously led an insights department in a boutique information consultancy start-up, working for global clients across a range of industries. Peter is passionate about the role technology and new thinking can have in enabling transformative benefit for society. At Carefree he is responsible for ensuring our organisational resilience, building out our public sector engagement strategy and shaping our impact goals.
Stella Hart (Director of Hospitality Partnerships)
Stella leads Carefree’s engagement with the hospitality industry, building bespoke partnerships with accommodation providers seeking to bring purpose into the DNA of their operation and brand. Her most recent roles have included supporting the launch of IHG’s newest brand voco™ and spearheading the implementation of IHG’s new central reservation systems. She’s also an experienced Commercial and Revenue Director, having held senior positions with Michels and Taylor, Whitbread and Marriott International over the course of her career.
Sarine Sofair (Community Outreach Manager)
Sarine leads on our Community Partner outreach work, engaging with carer support organisations across the UK. Highly people focussed, Sarine also has a key role in building a warm, respectful and effective experience for carers, both through direct engagement and support as well as using her UX experience to help design carer-centred technology and communication processes. Sarine is also a professional actress with over 15 years’ experience in behavioral communications and performance on stage and screen.
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