It was the opportunity for a change of career that brought Nicky Spencer and her partner Josh Morgan to East Kent from Dorset in June 2014.
Nicky, now 30 and mum to two-year-old Enzo, had previously worked as a general manager of a furniture company, which she had helped set up from scratch, before going into an admin role and taking a business degree.
But it was the offer of a HR role with the East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, based at Kent & Canterbury Hospital, that lured Nicky and Josh away from Lyme Regis to Chartham.
She said: “There were not many career opportunities locally in Dorset unless we were prepared to do a lot of driving and so Josh and I decided it was the right time to move. I really wanted to get into HR and get a foot in the door and saw this job in the resourcing team.
“We researched the area and really liked that it had countryside and the coast and that everything was on our doorstep.
“We looked at property in Canterbury but it was so much more expensive than being a few miles outside of the city.
“We started looking at the villages and found Chartham. It’s a pretty village with lovely countryside and good transport links, including a train station, along with shops and pubs, everything we needed. It has also been a great place to begin raising a family with the local Children’s Centre offering free baby and toddler groups and an excellent primary school located in the village to consider for Enzo. He particularly loves the soft-play centre located just a couple of miles outside of Chartham.”
Nicky and 30-year-old Josh, who works as a team leader at CATS College in Canterbury, have been busy discovering what is on offer in East Kent.
Nicky said: “In the summer we went to Broadstairs beach which is lovely and sandy. We’ve joined English Heritage and have been to visit Dover and Rochester castles and the many zoos and steam train lines in the surrounding area, which Enzo loves.
“We have found really nice parks and gardens and lots of walks, especially on the Chartham Downs near our home.
“It is similar to Dorset with the countryside and beaches but there you had to drive for miles for the nearest city and good shopping. Here we have Canterbury with great shops and there is the fast train up to London.
“We are also thinking about taking a Continental trip to Bruges as there is such good access for that.”
Since having her son Nicky works three days a week and Enzo attends nursery on-site at K&C Hospital.
She said: “Enzo loves it and it is a 30 second walk from the office, which is ideal.”
And the role within HR has proved to be an interesting learning curve.
Nicky said: “It was a new area for me and I had to learn a lot from scratch. It’s been great taking on both Agenda for Change and Medical recruitment, building up a thorough understanding of the entire recruitment process and being part of a team that works hard to introduce the best professionals to provide high quality patient care. Understanding the Visa application process has proved most challenging for me as there are a number of different requirements to meet and these can change on a frequent or fairly sudden basis but I really enjoy it and everything is working well at the moment. I have a good work/life balance and the Trust seeks to support flexibility where possible along with providing the benefit of Childcare vouchers.”
Living in East Kent has turned out to be such a success for the couple that, although Nicky’s family remain several hours away in Dorset, one of Josh’s brothers and their girlfriend have now also moved to Canterbury and are busy discovering the attractions on their doorstep.