Rebecca Smicle, Chief Executive

I joined Independent Lives in 2004 after starting my career supporting disabled children and adults in community settings. Following this I worked in Hounslow, West London, first supporting the conversion of a sheltered employment institute into a centre offering a better range of life options for local people. I then went on to support people into paid employment through the New Deal for Disabled People.

My current role as Chief Executive gives me the ability to work with disabled people to develop and improve services and to create strategies to increase all citizens’ access to choice, control and to live independent lives.

During my time at Independent Lives I have achieved a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership & Management.

I am a member of South East Network for Disabled People’s Organisations (SENDPO), and Supporting Community-Based Solutions.

Read an interview with Rebecca talking about her role.

Sam Pegg, Director of Operations

I joined Independent Lives back in 2010 to work with the New Business Lead to develop and launch Lend a Hand, our care service.

Since then, the service has grown and gained a Care Quality Commission rating of ‘Good’ and CHAS accreditation, and our team has been recognised in local awards as Unsung Heroes!

As Director of Operations, I am working towards the service gaining an ‘Excellent’ CQC rating, having introduced coffee mornings and opportunities for our customers to take part in local community projects, and I am always looking at ways to improve the quality and safety of our service.

I love the diversity of my role, never knowing what the day will bring, and working with such a fantastic team and lovely customers.

Michael Barford, Director of Finance and Business Planning

I joined Independent Lives in January 2019. I am a CIMA-qualified accountant with many years of experience in the manufacturing, communications, health, education and charity sectors.

The major part of my career has been spent in telecommunications, in senior finance and regulatory affairs roles. In recent years I have been consulting in communications regulation within Europe and further afield.

I am enjoying learning more about our part of the charity sector and meeting the challenges we face to make a successful future for the organisation and the people using our services.

Yvonne Farenden, Head of Direct Payments and Personalisation

I moved down to West Sussex from London in 2007 where I previously worked for Barclays Bank and the Metropolitan Police Service and joined Independent Lives in 2008. This was a new challenge for me having never worked in this sector before. I started as Enquiries Officer and honed my skills from the ground up.

I really enjoy my work and the differences it makes to people's lives. Every day brings 
something new and I am so glad to be part of an organisation which works towards that.

Tyne Gaskell, Head of People

I joined Independent Lives in 2013. During my time here I have taken my CIPD qualifications in Human Resources which has led me to my current role as HR & Facilities Lead.

Prior to joining I spent a year travelling visiting China, South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and America. It was a fantastic experience meeting so many new people and learning about different cultures.

I love my role as each day brings a different challenge enabling me to increase my knowledge on a daily basis.

Dom Goodeve, Communications and Engagement Lead

I joined Independent Lives in January 2021 having previously worked for Brighton Housing Trust and Sussex Oakleaf. I’m currently studying for a Level 6 Diploma in Marketing with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

I began my career in the voluntary sector working in frontline roles, supporting people to better manage their mental health and achieve their aspirations with Sussex Oakleaf. I have also undertaken voluntary roles with Citizens Advice and Affinity Sutton where I taught digital skills to vulnerable adults.

I love working in the voluntary sector where I feel that the work, I do can help to improve communities and lives. I am looking forward to a bright future with Independent Lives.

Grahame Jones, Payroll and Banking Team Leader

I joined Independent Lives in November 2009, initially as a Payroll Co-ordinator and now Payroll & Banking Team Leader.

Previously I have worked for a Cosmetic, Telecommunications and a Manufacturing company within their payroll department spanning 18 years.

I get personal satisfaction from helping other people and making their lives easier!

Jack Elsdon, Registered Manager

I joined Independent Lives in 2019 as Recruitment Officer, before changing role to Finance & Operations Manager, and ultimately my current position as Registered Manager for the Independent Lives care service. 

I have higher national diploma in economics, and have recently obtained a second higher national diploma in operations management.

I love working in social care because I get to make a massive difference in people's lives every day, achieving real change for the people we support.