The Board of Directors

Nadra Ahmed CBE, Executive Co-Chairman, National Care Association

Last chair of the Care Provider Alliance

Nadra has been Chairman of NCA since 2001. She has been involved in the field of social care for over 40 years and until 2005 was the Registered Manager of two private care homes for older people, having developed and run services since 1981 which included a homecare service.

Nadra has served on numerous government taskforces and continues to do so. Through Covid she became recognised as the respected voice of social care. Nadra has served as the Vice Chairman of Skills for Care for 11 years having been appointed at its inception: she was also a trustee of Parkinson's UK and continues to support various charities as a trustee/patron or president, despite her tight schedule; these include the veterans charity RBLI and a small disabilities charity Spadeworks.

Nadra is the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Kent and a Kent Ambassador. She is currently (23/24) serving as the High Sheriff of Kent which is a royal appointment.

In 2006 she was awarded the OBE for her services to Social Care. She is a regular contributor to journals and speaks regularly at national and international conferences throughout the world. Nadra is regularly called upon by the major media networks to represent the views of social care providers on some of the most challenging issues facing social care.

Nadra is driven by a desire to ensure the delivery of quality services to the most vulnerable members of our society. She works across a number of government departments which have an impact on the social care world giving evidence and expert advice to parliamentarians.

Nadra has been recognised by her peers receiving awards has been listed as an influencer in numerous polls and magazine. Her continued passion for social care saw her being awarded the CBE for her services to Social Care.

Ian Turner read Pure and Applied Mathematics at Newcastle University before joining International Computers Ltd ( now part of Fujitsu) in the early 1970’s. He worked as a programmer, then within operating system support, marketing, project management, and sales management. In 1984 he bought a property and converted it into a Nursing Home. He has now developed this into six Homes with 270 beds, all within East Anglia, offering Nursing and Residential Care to older people, and those living with dementia. Ian has chaired the Registered Nursing Home Association for the past ten years. During 2014/5 Ian was seconded into the DH/LGA team implementing the Care Act.

The elected Board of Directors is made up of volunteers who are or have been care providers.

The directors are based throughout the country and are passionate and committed to ensuring the highest quality of services through respect, recognition and support for the providers of these services. Members of the Board maintain close links with their local Associations, which means our national agenda with Government and the various Ministers and Departments are built upon at local grassroots levels.

The Board of Directors


Nadra Ahmed CBE

Ian Turner

Vice Chairman

Joyce Pinfield

Vice Chairman and Treasurer

Mr Raj Singh


Anita Astle MBE

Eddie Coombes

Sukhi Gidar

Nicola Richards

Raj Sehgal

Matthew Airey

Jackie Riddett

Geoffrey Cox


Eunice Paxman MBE

Michael Bird

Major Dick Barton

Jim Sherrington

Advisor to the Board

Amrit Sumal

Victoria Buyer

Tish Hanifan

Chris Graham

Joyce Pinfield

Vice Chairman

Joyce is the Managing Director of Worcester Garden Ltd which operates Greenacres Care Home, a care home specialising in dementia in Crowle, near Scunthorpe and Worcester Garden (No.1) Ltd. which is the provider for Worcester Lodge, a residential care home in Clevedon in North Somerset which also specialises in dementia. Joyce has been a provider and operated care homes since 2003 and has previously operated a home in Grimsby.

Joyce is committed to helping the sector achieve exceptional care and believes that getting to know the residents is key to giving the best level of care, happiness and fulfillment. This can be achieved by having a skilled, compassionate team offering exactly the right level of care and support in a small homely environment.

Joyce is actively involved in the local area associations as well as National Care Association.

Joyce has been a member of the board of the National Care Association since 2008 and attends many national meetings on their behalf.

Raj Singh

Vice Chairman

Raj lives in Lancashire and qualified as a registered Nurse in 1983, a year later he began running two residential homes in Lancashire, caring for the elderly and those with learning disabilities. Today he is Managing Director of the award winning Altham Care, with dementia being at the forefront of their service.

Graduated in Law in 1997. Served as Chairman of Magistrates Bench for almost 15 years. Raj’s experience also covers the management of a portfolio of residential, office and commercial properties.

Throughout his career Raj has been involved in the representation of care providers, including being a Director of the Lancashire Care Association from soon after its inception in the early 1990’s. Raj joined the Board of National Care Association in 2007 and holds the office of Vice Chairman.

Raj actively lobbies for the best possible standards of care for those using services, whilst recognising the pressures of providers in today’s tough market place, always with an eye on preserving and preparing services for the future.

Anita Astle MBE

Anita started her career as a Registered General Nurse 35 years ago. She specialised in Burns and Plastic Surgery Nursing. Anita then left the NHS to work in her family’s nursing home which she began running with little knowledge of Older People or of business. Anita learnt quickly and soon realised she had the best job in the world – supporting great people who were so wise and knowledgeable.

Within 2 years Anita became a member of her Local Care Association and joined its Board. Ever since she has worked strategically with Health and Social Care colleagues to ensure the Care Home sector is visible and recognised.

Anita's passions are workforce development, leadership and high quality service. In Nottinghamshire they have now created a full career pathway for Registered Nurses from a Care Assistant with no qualification through to Registered Manager or for those who wish to become a Registered Nurse through to Advanced Clinical Practitioner. This pathway embraces new roles and routes such as Nursing Associate and Apprenticeship Nursing.

Anita has held positions as Non- Executive Director of a Primary Care Trust; Director and Trustee of Skills for Care. Currently she is a Governor for her local NHS Community Health Trust and Board member of National Care Association.

Eddie Coombes

Eddie is the Chief Executive of Optima Healthcare group of companies which focuses on providing care to vulnerable adults with complex needs. These services have two areas of care which includes dementia / complex nursing services in residential care homes as well as support for people with learning disabilities and autism in both residential and supported living settings. As a care provider Optima’s focus is to deliver care to the most vulnerable part of society who sometimes cannot access good care and support.

Having graduated in Computer Science, Eddie worked in the technology sector for fifteen years managing service delivery and revenue development for various mid and large corporate organisations. Eddie moved into health and social care having grown up with a family background parents working in the NHS and operating care homes for over twenty years, then subsequently starting up Optima Healthcare.

Aside from operating care services, Eddie has been involved in various charities including stem4, an adolescent mental health charity providing awareness and self-help for children, parents and senior schools. More recently Eddie continues to focus on working on care sector initiatives and government policy engagement helping influence and drive awareness to gain better support for social care providers.

Sukhi Gidar

Sukhvinder Singh Gidar qualified as a pharmacist in 1990, going on to operate 2 pharmacies in the South East. Sukhi then went on to study a post graduate degree in Kings College. From this degree Sukhi realised that the care business with its demographics was the business to be in and decided to change his career from Pharmacies into the care sector.

Gold Care Homes was established in 1999 and has since grown to operate 21 care homes, predominantly in the northern Home Counties. Privately owned by the Gidar family, Gold Care Homes has an established reputation of delivering high quality care and a wide range of facilities to their residents.

Successes include Gold Care Homes winning Family Business of the Year at the Red Ribbon Awards 2016. Profiling among top 150 companies - Thames Valley 250 - The Business Magazine 2015 and being recognised as UK’s third fastest growing health care company – Health Investor Growth Company 2014.

Nicola Richards

Nicola trained in accountancy and is Managing Director of Palms Row Healthcare which operates 3 nursing homes in Sheffield specialising in Intermediate Care. Nicola joined the group in 1998 and has over 20 years experience in the care sector.

In 2015 Nicola set up her own healthcare and recruitment training agency Heritage Oaks Healthcare to support her own homes and providers within South Yorkshire.

Nicola is passionate about the sector and is committed to supporting colleagues and providers locally. She formed the Sheffield Care Association to be the collective voice for members.

Raj Sehgal

Raj is Managing Director of ARMSCARE Ltd which operates 4 rural care homes for the elderly, around the coastal area of Kings Lynn.

He has been an avid supporter of the NCA for many years and has first hand experience of the many challenges that the sector faces and has been vocal in change for the better. The Care Sector has long been the poor and forgotten cousin of the entire healthcare sector and he believes passionately that this needs to change along with the perception and benefits for care staff throughout the country.

Raj said "I am delighted and humbled to have been offered the opportunity to work along side the NCA and hope that together we can make a huge difference to the perception of all those involved in Social Care, from care staff to providers alike."

Amrit Sumal - Compliance Director

Amrit is an established Care Provider and has first-hand experience of working in the sector and the complex range of issues that our members face. She is also a practising solicitor specialising in Regulatory Compliance and Health. She brings this wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role as National Care Associations Compliance Director.

Geoffrey Cox

Geoffrey started Southern Healthcare in 2001. He is very proud of the team members in the company’s four highly rated homes, which run well with the help of such outstanding team.

Prior to a career in residential care, Geoffrey was a practising Solicitor for 25 years. He is married to Margot, a registered Nurse, who is Director of Nursing and Compliance of Southern Healthcare.

Geoffrey completed a Masters degree in Dementia Studies at Stirling University from (2010- 2013.) He is passionate about all aspects of social care and is a member of several groups representing providers, including the Devon Care Homes Collaborative. The shared vision of the collaborative, through its various endeavours is making a recognisable difference to residents’ quality of life in its member homes and this work has been growing steadily in scale and impact over many years.

All four of Southern Healthcare’s homes are validated members of The Eden Alternative. Geoffrey, and his wife Margot, are enthusiastic trainers and board members of this international, not for profit movement, developed to eradicate loneliness, helplessness, and boredom in care settings and promote growth and wellbeing and quality of life.

Geoffrey enjoys sailing boat racing and music and loves performing to residents with the Southern Healthcare Quintet.

Matthew Airey

Along with wife, Pauline, Matthew founded Wessex Care in 2001; having worked in health & social care services for over 40 years, ten of which were in senior management roles within social services. He was responsible for delivering services to children and families in need of support, care and protection in Wiltshire and Hampshire.

The NCA office team

The association head office is based in the path of the high speed rail network to Europe, in Rochester, where a dedicated team is based, led by Lesley Stewart. The office team includes:

Kent Office:

  • Lesley Stewart - Office Manager
  • Allan Sullivan - Financial Controller
  • Vivienne Pickrell - Membership
  • Zeeba Ahmed - DBS
  • Amy Cuthbert - Sponsors & Suppliers
  • Paula Bates - Marketing and PR Administrator

    Birmingham Office:

    • David Ursell - Business Manager
    • Phil Wills - Membership Support
    • Gillian Tack - Membership and DBS Administrator
    • Irene Hunt - DBS Queries