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 exited two start-ups, led operational teams for Morgans Hotel Group across London and spent years volunteering for charities across Europe. Joey is now heading the growing digital team and shaping the tech engine that powers Carefree’s social intervention. Devising new solutions to entrenched social challenges, whilst working with the latest technology and no-code tools in a data-driven way to drive our impact.
Peter C. (Director of Sustainability and Impact)
Peter has developed and led successful teams in national and international NGOs, with close experience of revenue strategy, planning and operations in growth context, most recently for the International Rescue Committee. 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.
Iz Flieh (Operations Manager)
Iz joined Carefree from the start-up sector where he was responsible for driving the operational delivery of new product launches and membership acquisition, most recently at Sorted Foods. He is a passionate advocate for using data to better understand and pre-empt future customer needs. At Carefree he leads on breaks delivery and customer success amongst all of our stakeholders, working closely with the product team to ensure that the iterative development of our technology meets user needs.
Stella Hart (Hospitality Partnerships Manager)
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)
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.
Sarah Philbrick (Chair)
Sarah focuses on charities and governance through a range of trustee/non-exec board positions. In addition to Carefree, she works with the Jurassic Coast Trust, which is responsible for managing the World Heritage Site, and Dolphin Living, an affordable housing charity in London. She is also a non-executive director of the Vehicle Certification Agency, part of the Department for Transport. Sarah was Development Director at the Royal Academy of Engineering for 12 years and worked for nearly 20 years as an investment banker, including as a director at HSBC Investment Bank.
Elizabeth qualified as a solicitor before moving into the third sector. She is the former CEO of Reaching Out East, a London-based charity working with over 2,000 socially isolated and disabled people and their carers. She previously served as trustee of Waltham Forest Carers Association and is a qualified psychodynamic therapist, providing counselling for people with enduring mental health issues.
Jahangir has extensive experience leading large-scale Digital Business Transformations and turnarounds in multiple sectors. He is currently acting as Strategic Delivery Advisor for the Infrastructure and Projects Authority within the Cabinet Office and has held senior digital roles within DEFRA, the Home Office, HMRC, MoD and MoJ. Outside of his civil service career, he has worked for leading consultancies including Deloitte and IBM and founded start-ups in the Equity Crowdfunding, Software, Real Estate and Investment Management space.
David is CEO of Sleeperz hotels, and co-founder and NED of The Parogon Group, a premium country restaurant business. After 10 years working for multinational consumer goods companies, he moved into the hospitality sector in 2001 as Marketing Director for Mitchells and Butlers high street business. In 2004 he assumed the role of Managing Director of Alias Hotels, an award-winning lifestyle hotels group, which was successfully sold to Swire Properties in Dec 2006. He holds a BSc in Economics from Bristol University, as well as an MBA from Warwick Business School, where he was previously Chairman of the Alumni board.
As Data and Analytics Director at Impact Urban Health, Rob provides the analytic infrastructure and governance that enables the charity to tackle complex health challenges in Lambeth and Southwark. Prior to this, Rob worked as an Economist at the Portland Trust. In this role, he set up an outcome-based project to reduce Type 2 diabetes in refugee camps in Palestine. As Senior Policy Adviser at the Cabinet Office, he worked to develop the retail social investment market. Rob has worked on a range of policy areas including health, economic development and welfare.
James is a Co-Founder of Carefree. He has worked in film and TV production for the past three decades, including posts as Marketing Director of Stillking Films (Mission Impossible, Casino Royale, The Bourne Identity) and Executive Producer at TAG Worldwide (Unilever, Coca-Cola, Jaguar Land Rover). He has also advised third sector organisations on content strategy, brand identity and communications. After three years helping to steer Carefree from start-up mode to a fully functioning operation, he moved onto the Board of Trustees in the summer of 2019.