At Chailey Heritage Foundation, everything we do is only possible due to the commitment of our dedicated staff. From caring for, and looking after, the young people here, to fundraising to provide much needed finances to buy new equipment and build new areas on site, it is all down to the hard work of our employees.
We began the Appreciation Awards in August 2017, in recognition of individuals who have spent many years of their career at Chailey Heritage Foundation. The awards provide an opportunity to say thank you for all their time, effort and commitment to the charity. This year we would like to say a huge thank you to the following people.
Sally-Anne Murray joined Chailey Heritage Foundation fifteen years ago when she came initially to help with one project, but enjoyed her time so much that she went on to work on many more, leading the Fundraising Team who have been responsible for raising millions to provide services and facilities for the young people at Chailey Heritage Foundation. Last year Sally-Anne helped to raise 3.5 million pounds so that we could build The Dream Centre, a digital immersive space that enables the young people to enjoy a range of sensory experiences as well as offering a dedicated space for physical activity, including rebound therapy.
Sally-Anne reflects, “I can’t believe I’ve been here 15 years! I only came for a year to help out with one capital project, but loved it so much that I stayed. Being able to see first-hand what the young people are able to achieve with the help of an amazing team and the right facilities, is truly inspirational, and I’ve enjoyed being able to play a small part in that too.”
Karen Merrett who is the St Martin’s Department Coordinator, has also worked at Chailey Heritage Foundation for fifteen years and remembers when she started that the NHS ran a nursery where the children of staff members attended with children who came to school here, playing and learning together. “Things are very different now compared to when I started at Chailey. The complexity of the pupils is far greater now, but this never stops their achievements. They still do just as much, if not more and you just have to think outside the box to make this possible”.
One such example of thinking creatively was when Karen and her colleagues worked out a way of getting a young person who regularly used a ventilator to ride one of the ponies here. “It involved many different people and risk assessments, but to see her face the first time she rode was heart wrenching and a real wow moment!”
This is such a great first hand example of how staff make a truly unique difference to the lives of the young people who come here, working hard as a team to make the seemingly impossible, possible. Karen reflects, “I love every minute of my job, and feel very lucky to be part of such an amazing place. I can honestly say that I never wake up in the morning not wanting to go to work, so for that I feel incredibly grateful and am looking forward to many more years to come.”
Two other staff members who we would like to congratulate are Jill Bates for twenty years of service and Louise Avery for fifteen years of service. Thank you to everyone for all of your hard work and dedication, we couldn’t do it without you.