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 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.”
Post-pandemic, the organisation has delivered over 4500 breaks to unpaid carers nationwide representing over £1m of donated accommodation through its now multi-award-winning tech platform. It continues to forge 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.
Adriana Trzeciak (Customer Operations Manager)
Adriana leads our Customer Support Team. Joining Carefree from a travel-tech start-up, Adriana brings a unique blend of skills and personality to the team. A people person who thrives in fast-paced environments, she is using her know-how of new technologies and platforms to forge creative customer service solutions for our growing user base on a shoestring budget.
Miruna Harpa (Hospitality Partnerships Manager)
Miruna leads Carefree’s engagement with the hospitality industry, building bespoke partnerships with accommodation providers. Miruna has a passion for hospitality and joined Z Hotels shortly after finishing her studies. Her latest job was in customer relations with a start-up focusing on helping people discover new world cuisines with the help of their recipe kits. Having worked in various roles within the hospitality industry, Miruna understands the importance of being adaptable and always seeks to find the best solutions for both our Hospitality Partners and carers.
Philipp Friemann (Product Manager)
Philipp leads on product development and impact measurement, ensuring that Carefree’s offer meets carer needs and improves their well-being. Philipp has held a range of roles across the public sector, consulting and academia with a focus on developing innovative products and services that improve people’s lives. In his work, he draws on behavioural science and design-led approaches.
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 behavioural communications and performance on stage and screen.
Shereen Amjad (Operations Manager)
Shereen is a highly organised, forward-planning and attentive individual. She has a rich background working in the pharmaceutical industry at the peak of the Covid pandemic and more recently applied her skillset to promoting the growth of a biotech start-up as an Operations Manager. Passionate about using her skills to drive social change, Shereen is now embedding strong project management, compliance processes and procedures to promote Carefree’s transition from a small charity to a national player.
[Photo credits: James Ricketts]
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