Sporting past for new Heathfield homes chief

Nolan Taylor
Nolan Taylor

Abbeyfield South Downs, a charity providing supported accommodation for older people, has appointed a chief executive.

Nolan Taylor, aged 56, will be responsible for the eight houses run by the organisation in Eastbourne, Heathfield, Hove and St Leonards, and he will also be planning for the organisation’s future growth.

He has joined Abbeyfield South Downs from the national Abbeyfield charity where he was area housing manager and regional strategy manager.

He said: “I am genuinely excited about my new role. While there are challenges this organisation has the right attitude, understands the need for growth and the need to develop new future-proof schemes. We must build Extra Care facilities. Extra Care is absolutely essential so that our residents know they can stay with Abbeyfield as their needs for support increase.”

Mr Taylor, who will be based at the Abbeyfield South Downs house, Holdenhurst in Mill Road, Heathfield, said he planned to have a photograph of Richard Carr-Gomm, Abbeyfield founder, above his desk to remind him of the reason for its continuing existence today.

He said Richard Carr-Gomm was an inspirational figure who came out of the Army, volunteered to clean older people’s homes and then invited them to live with him in a bid to make their lives easier and to combat their loneliness.

Mr Taylor added: “The work he began in the 1950s is even more relevant today than it was then and I am pleased to be involved with an organisation that is dedicated to continuing his work.”

Mr Taylor lives with his partner Vanessa Berkley-Smith in the Blatchington Mill area of Hove but also has connections with each of the towns covered by Abbeyfield South Downs. Outside work his interests include playing Ultimate, a sport which he describes as being “like American football played with a Frisbee”.

He was once captain of the Great Britain Ultimate Team and led them to their first-ever medal success (bronze) at the World Championships. He has also organised and managed international Ultimate sporting events for up to 1,000 athletes. This is not the only outlet for his energy and his enthusiasm has led him into occasional danger. Mr Taylor also plays volleyball, he is secretary at the Brighton Volleyball Club, enjoys snowboarding and survived Hurricane Lenny, having lost masts and sails and being briefly dunked in the sea, when sailing across the Atlantic in 1999.

Other, more earthbound, interests include art, architecture and music.