The Charity & Trustees

The Shaftesbury Community Association (SCA.)  was founded in the 1980s to help with the needs of a growing population, but its trust deed was too limited to allow it to provide residential care.  

With the closure of local hospitals in Salisbury and Dorchester (which had previously met this need) SCA created a sister charity to respond to it, initially called the Shaftesbury Community Health Association, later the Community Health Association in Shaftesbury (CHAS) and renamed Cedars Castle Hill in 2012.

The trust deed stipulates that the charity will provide continuing residential care at all levels of dependency for elderly people with severe disability – mental or physical – in its catchment area, in practice the five towns covered by North Dorset District Council and the smaller settlements serviced by those towns including those just across the county border in Wiltshire and Somerset.

Castle Hill House

Once Castle Hill House was in operation, it quickly became clear that there was an unmet need for nursing care, providing full nursing support for those facing the most severe difficulties.

In 1990, the trustees raised further charitable support to acquire and reconfigure another listed building, creating in Angel Lane, Shaftesbury, what is now The Cedars Nursing Home.  This opened to residents in 1994.  After a final project in 2010/11 to add further space within the inevitable limitations of the building footprint and listed status.

Meet the Trustees

Martin Thomas, Chair

Following a short career serving in the Royal Artillery Martin has enjoyed a successful commercial career with extensive operational and strategic experience within complex and changing healthcare, social care and special needs education markets. He has an inherent entrepreneurial spirit mixed with commercial astuteness and a proven track record of business performance improvement. This has included significant experience in business transformation, corporate governance and regulatory frameworks such as the Care Quality Commission. He holds an MSc in strategic leadership in learning organisations.

During his career Martin Chaired the Bristol branch of the Institute of Directors, has been a Laing & Buisson finalist as Mental Health Provider of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and for engaging in Public/private partnerships.

Martin strives to better an individual’s situation by improving access to living standards and education. He particularly champions those facing challenges such as physical and mental health issues and disabilities. In addition to Chair of Cedars Castle Hill Martin is an Ambassador for the Educational Development Trust, a Charity operating a school in Ghana.

Martin Thomas
Anabel Westall

Anabel Westall, Vice Chair

Anabel has been on the board of Cedars Castle Hill since her retirement from working in the social care sector where she specialised in the care of the elderly, managing a team of social workers and support workers in providing care.

Anabel contributed to the NICE guidelines in supporting people with dementia and their carers. First hand experience was also gained by looking after two relatives both of whom had diagnoses of dementia.

Mike Hall

Mike retired to Shaftesbury in 2012 after working in the airline industry for 40 years, latterly as a Special Advisor to foreign carriers operating into the UK. His experience includes work on HR, Strategy, Commercial and International Relations issues.

Before joining Cedars Castle Hill, he served as a Trustee of the International Refugee Trust, a London-based development aid charity, for 15 years, where he chaired the Finance Committee. 

Mike is married to a retired Mental Health Tribunal Judge. Besides family and friends, he enjoys working on an old house and garden, exploring the Dorset countryside, playing tennis and messing about in boats. 

Mike Hall
Ruth Blacklock

Ruth Blacklock

Currently I sit on hearings of appeals for release from section for the DUHT as a hospital manager. Previously I did the same thing for the Mental Health Tribunal and was also a non exec at Salisbury Hospital. As a result I am familiar with the workings of the NHS and  the legal aspects of old age and its health problems, especially dementia.

I have lived in the countryside just outside Shaftesbury, in fact I was born in Ludwell!

I am a grandmother with four grandchildren and as they live close by, I am fortunate to see them often. I love food and wine, playing tennis, gardening and travelling when I can.

I feel very honoured to be part of the CCH team.

Ann Hobbs

Having completed my nursing training at the Middlesex hospital, I worked as a theatre nurse prior to marrying and raising a family whilst also working in an ENT clinic.

Following that I moved into the elderly care sector where I worked for several years.

After re-locating to Dorset I was a member of the Independent Monitoring Board at a local prison until becoming a trustee of Cedars Castle Hill.

My interests include silver smithing, gardening, cooking, reading and my grandchildren.

Ann Hobbs

Meet the Leadership Team


Carol Mayers, Director of Homes

I grew up in the Surrey countryside which fuelled my love for walking and exploring rural areas, and now I can do that with my young and very energetic dog.

I have 22 years’ experience of managing Care Services, including supported living for vulnerable people, Young people’s services, Learning disabilities, Domiciliary service, Residential and Nursing Care homes.

I feel very privileged to be working with such lovely and dedicated people at The Cedars and Castle Hill House and of course the added bonus of being situated in beautiful Shaftesbury.


Julie Lloyd, Finance Manager

Hi, my name is Julie Lloyd, Finance Manager at Cedars Castle Hill. 

I started working for this Charity as Secretary/Receptionist for 6 hours per week back in 1996.  Once my children had grown up I commenced Accountancy training and following this became the Finance Manager in June 2020. 

I have the utmost respect for my hardworking, caring colleagues who are a pleasure to work with.


Rebecca Ashcroft, Operations Manager

Hi, my name is Rebecca and I am the Operations Manager for Cedars Castle Hill. 

I joined the charity in 2012 and continue to enjoy working within this lively organisation. 

I work within a great team and I enjoy the variety my role brings each day. I’m looking forward to being part of the future at Cedars Castle Hill.

Cedars Nursing Home and Castle Hill House have now merged all their services, based out of one building at The Cedars in Angel Lane, Shaftesbury. We still provide residential and dementia nursing to all our residents.