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From the Stage to the Hospice: How Charley Found His True Calling in Care

When local Gravesend man Charley Weech saw a role as a Healthcare Assistant at ellenor pop up, he knew he had to apply.

Firstly? Because the role was the perfect fit for his skillset – and his personality. 

Charley, 25, started his working life in a residential care home, supporting people with dementia. Before a slight career shift – when he secured a role as a Bluecoat at Pontins holiday park: singing, dancing, and commanding the stage.

When the pandemic hit, Charley became a support worker for adults with learning disabilities, and juggled roles at ASDA and Toby Carvery. But it was care, not carving, that drove him. And soon, Charley had taken a role at a local school – supporting students with special educational needs, such as ADHD and autism.

But when his eyes found the advertisement for a role at ellenor, Charley didn’t think twice.

“I miss the students dearly,” says Charley. “But ellenor is where my heart has been for a long, long time.”

Around 13 years, to be exact – ever since Charley’s nan was cared for by ellenor in the final days and weeks of her life.

“When my nan was really poorly,” Charley recalls, “ellenor provided her with the dignity that she lost while she was ill at home. There’s so much compassion here; I’ve never worked in an environment where there’s so much compassion. Where everyone has so much love for their role; the service they provide; their patients. It’s an incredible place to work.”

Charley has been fundraising for ellenor since his teenage years. And the connection’s been there ever since – as recently as December 2022, in fact, when ellenor cared for Charley’s uncle at our Northfleet-based inpatient ward. ellenor is a place that has – and always will – remain close to Charley’s heart.

And now, it’s on his CV, too.

As a Healthcare Assistant in the Children’s Respite Team, Charley’s role is to provide care for children with life limiting conditions – from their own home within the Kent and Bexley communities. 

With Charley and his colleagues – who he’s ‘shadowing’ at the moment, while he builds the confidence, competence, and qualifications to do it independently – caring for the child, allows their primary caregiver some vital time away from their duties. That could be nipping out for some shopping, spending quality time with other family members, or simply savouring an hour or two to relax and unwind.

Depending on the child – and the complexity of their needs – Charley’s role may be as straightforward as sitting with them and making them comfortable. It can also involve encouraging sensory play to stimulate the child’s mind and engage them. (A technique Charley, who has a niece with disabilities, is well versed in.)

Or, the role can require something that plays well into his natural skillset – entertaining them!

“I loved being a Bluecoat – entertaining thousands of people throughout the year. Being able to make both the adults and children smile was amazing.

“I think my time at Pontins made me feel more at ease with – and excited to work with – the children’s team. Because I can use my experience on the stage there to better entertain and engage the children I support here at ellenor.”

So what’s it like? Not only working with children, but going into their homes to support them in their own environment?

Daunting, Charley says – but incredibly rewarding, too.

“Just seeing a patient in their natural environment is so heart-warming. When you see an elderly person on a hospital ward, they often don’t look comfortable in that setting. But caring for a child from their own home is endearing, because they do look comfortable; they’re settled.”

Along with the chance to give back to a cause that means the world to him, Charley’s dream new role at ellenor offers something else, too – career progression.

Emma, one of Charley’s colleagues in the respite care team, is balancing her role alongside studying for a nursing associate qualification – sponsored by ellenor.

Charley could do the same. It all depends how he wants his career with ellenor to unfold – and how high he wants to take it.

So which key attributes are essential to succeed in Charley’s role – and in the care sector at large?

“Healthcare is for a particular kind of person,” Charley smiles. “You either love it, or you don’t! But as long as you have compassion, and respect for those older and younger – as long as you’re invested in treating them with the dignity they deserve – then you’ll do fine.

“Because to me, at least, there’s nothing more rewarding than giving back to the community – to the people who have come before you. And those who will come after.”

Career progression. A warm, welcoming environment. Compassionate, care-centric colleagues. And a chance to continue ellenor’s legacy of caring for people like his uncle, and his nan, well into the future.

ellenor doesn’t just offer Charley a role, but a reason. It’s professional – and personal.

“My nan always loved planting flowers. When she was at home, poorly, she couldn’t do it. But when she came to ellenor, she was able – with the support for the nurses – to tend to the soil. To go back to her roots, in the sunshine, and add some flowers to ellenor’s garden. When she went, she went peacefully – and happily – having done that.

“To give other families that support, that peace of mind? That’s a career.”

Could your next career move be into hospice care? Explore the benefits of a career at ellenor – and browse our current vacancies.