Meet the team

With Ruby waiting to walk through Barnard Castle woods

Diane Chandler - Director

I have always worked with children and families and have enjoyed making sure that they receive good quality care. However, when my mother-in-law needed support to stay in her own home; we struggled to find the appropriate care. At that time I was considering moving away from early years and was looking at other options that allowed me to utilise the skills, experience and qualifications I had worked hard to build. The ethos of Home Instead is one I can truly relate to and I am very proud to be able to offer local residents the opportunity to maintain their independence and stay in their own homes with dignity and respect.

As Director, my role is to build relationships with local providers and organisations, look at opportunities for Home Instead to contribute to the local community and to manage the business side of the operation.

I grew up in Saltburn-by-the -Sea, spending many happy hours on the beach and at the fun fair. I moved to London to 'seek my fortune' as a nanny, met Lawrence and have been married for a long time! We have two fabulous children who are busy making their own way in the world. Eager to get back to my northern roots, we moved to a small village just outside Darlington 18 years ago, and wherever possible try to involve ourselves in the local community. Ruby the Cockapoo came into our lives nearly 7 years ago and i just love taking her out. I am very grateful to live in such a beautiful area and Ruby particularly loves chasing the squirrels in the woods at Barnard Castle. 


Judith Ayre

Judith Ayre - Care Manager

Prior to working for Home Instead, I have managed home care services for six years and have a wealth of knowledge and experience in social care.

I joined Home Instead as the ethos and values are similar to my own; providing person centred support in a caring and compassionate manner. This has a positive response to the person receiving the support whether it is through companionship, home help or personal care. I pride myself in providing excellent, tailored support to meet the individual needs and I am looking forward to meeting and supporting clients within the Darlington area.


Sarah Wheeler

Sarah Wheeler - Recruitment Co-ordinator

My background has always been in the care sector and I first came to work for Home Instead in Darlington 14 months ago as the part - time administrator. This role has evolved over the time that i have been here and i was very excited to be offered the position of recruiter. I will be the first point of contact for any new CAREGivers wishing to join our happy team.

I will guide them through the interview and assessment process and support them as they start their journey with us. 

The values and beliefs of Home Instead are what drew me to them in the first place as I believe that everyone should be treated as an individual and i'm very proud to be part of a team that truly does take everything personally.

I am married Mickey and we have a lovely family ageing from 5 to 22 years old and Walter, a very noisy husky! I also consider the Home Instead team as my extended family.

I am looking forward to meeting prospective CAREGivers and helping to build the team.

Fiona Locker

Fiona Locker - Care Co-ordinator

I have worked in the care sector on and off since i was 18 years old. Each time i wanted to try something new i was drawn back to the job i have always loved. I have worked in care homes but my passion is being able to support people living in their own homes to remain as independent as they could be. So, after many years i decided to take a step back and undertake a different role. I was not sure what that role was to be until i applied for this one in July 2019.  I wanted a challenge and i knew this job was right for me. As the Care Co-ordinator  i endeavour to match the right CAREGivers to the right clients at the right time as well as responding to CAREGiver and client enquiries. My day is always busy and varied and i still go out to see clients, which is very important to me. Home Instead has shown me the real meaning of care and i am happy to be part of it. 

In my spare time i love to read and have a keen interest in Medieval ad Tudor history. I have completed  a few distant learning learning courses in these subjects as well as a Forensic Investigation course.

I love to learn and in this line of work i definitely learn something new every day.

Diane Richardson

Diane Richardson - Business Support Administrator

For most of my career I have worked with offenders, both in a prison setting and in the community, but always in an advisory and caring capacity – challenging but rewarding roles.  I started working for Home Instead early in 2020 as a CAREGiver, a very different client group and a refreshing change! I have really enjoyed offering companionship to our lovely clients and being part of the close-knit Home Instead family.

In November 2020 I was offered the part-time role of Business Support Administrator, becoming part of the small and friendly office-based team while offering support to our wonderful CAREGivers and still able to maintain day to day contact with clients over the phone.  As a people person, this is such a privilege.

I’m married to Tony and I’m very proud of my four grown-up children.  We live in a beautiful rural village and enjoy cycling, walking and tennis with family and friends, and generally making the most of the great outdoors.

Just a few of our wonderful CAREGivers


We couldn't do what we do without our exceptional CAREGivers