We have a strong leadership team with experience in social care and business development and management.
Miriam Martin – chief executive
Miriam joined Caring Together in January 2018. She has worked in the charity sector for over 20 years, mostly at Action for Blind People (Action), a UK-wide charity delivering services to blind and partially sighted people. Action had a budget of £23mn, with 900 staff and 400 volunteers, supporting around 90,000 people each year.
Miriam became CEO of Action in 2014, and in 2016 led a merger with the London-based Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). She was previously RNIB’s director of services, reporting directly to the RNIB’s chief executive.
“I relish the opportunity to drive the organisation onwards and upwards and help support many more family carers in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk.”
Melanie Gray – deputy chief executive
Melanie joined Caring Together in February 2013 as chief operating officer. She qualified as an applied Psychologist and has a range of sector experience: academic, military, private, public, charity, SMEs, blue chip and manufacturing. Melanie has held positions within the Ministry of Defence; Sheffield University (Institute of Work Psychology); ER Consultants; and Cambridgeshire County Council.
Melanie’s previous roles include academic researcher/lecturer (with multiple publications in her maiden name of Older), director of a research and consultancy unit, management consultant, project manager and local authority commissioner.
Melanie has a range of skills including change management, project management, commissioning, research, consultancy and business development.
“I thoroughly enjoy the variety of work at Caring Together and value our role in raising awareness of the amazing contribution of those who selflessly look after others; and ensuring they are aware of, and able to access, the support that is available to them locally.”
Helen de Spretter – director of finance and resources
Helen joined Caring Together in January 2017.
A chartered accountant (Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants), Helen has significant strategic and operational finance experience in both private and public sectors, and has operated in FTSE 100 heavy engineering, media, central and local government, where she controlled budgets of up to £500m. She has led finance teams to partner, develop, simplify and improve financial management to deliver effective business operations.
As well as her financial skills, Helen has a wide range of operational management and leadership experience including project management, financial transformation and change, placing and managing outsourced services
“I enjoy working with our skilled team to maximise the benefit to carers by meeting the challenges and opportunities of the current political and economic landscape.”
Anna Bainbridge – head of people
Anna joined Caring Together in May 2002 when the organisation was known as Crossroads Care.
Anna’s background is in art, psychology and the charitable sector. She worked as a researcher at the University of Hertfordshire on studies such as the effect of bullying on primary age children and the development of pre-term children. Previous roles focussed on work with children and young people with disabilities.
In her time with Caring Together, Anna has worked as a care manager, operations manager, quality manager and head of care. She has a broad range of experience covering contract and partnership management, project management, grants and tenders, quality standards and people management.
“Our amazing charity is home to so many remarkable and skilled people, who are dedicated to helping families in so many different ways to ensure that they and their loved ones are supported to live their lives as they choose to do.”
Hannah Clay – head of fundraising and engagement
Hannah joined Caring Together in August 2018. This follows over ten years working in the non-profit sector for local, regional and national charities including East Anglian Air Ambulance, Business in the Community and Norwich City Community Sports Foundation.
Undertaking a number of fundraising and engagement roles, most recently that of development manager, Hannah is experienced in growing both capital and revenue funding from a number of sources, including individuals, trusts and foundations, corporate organisations and events.
Hannah’s skills include non-profit development, charity communications, voluntary income generation and relationship management.
“Three out of five of us will look after someone at some point in our lives. Family carers play a vital, and often underestimated, role in our community. Along with my colleagues, I strive to raise awareness of what it means to be a family carer, along with much-needed funds to ensure that we are able to offer people the support that they need to look after themselves, whilst they are looking after others.”
Vanessa Kinsey-Thatcher – head of services
Vanessa is an experienced health professional who in her early years cared for her sister. At the time her role as a young carer went unrecognised. Her sister’s conditions of autism and chronic mental health issues had a significant impact on Vanessa. At the age of 21, Vanessa started her career in the field of mental health and learning disabilities with a large, charity owned, in-patient hospital in Northampton. After several years as a healthcare assistant Vanessa qualified as a mental health nurse choosing a specialist path as a child and adolescent mental health nurse.
Since then Vanessa has successfully filled various roles involving governance, regulation and improving standards within healthcare settings and most recently prior to joining the Caring Together, Vanessa was a mental health hospitals inspector with the Care Quality Commission between April 2016 and January 2019. As well as her caring responsibilities Vanessa completed both bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh’s awards and served as a special constable and for several years was a charity trustee for Sands, a lead on good charity governance including overseeing amendments to the constitution.
John Platten – digital transformation manager
John joined Caring Together in September 2019.
He has experience working in the academic sector, local government and property.
His roles have covered the delivery of many customer-centred digital services with a focus on user experience and change management.
Andy McGowan – head of carer services
Andy joined Caring Together in May 2016.
He has over 15 years’ experience of carers’ policy, awareness-raising and participation on a local and national level.
Andy was part of the national campaign to introduce legal rights for young carers, working alongside organisations such as Carers Trust and The Children’s Society.