Meet the staff

Rachel Gilsenan – Manager

Hi there I’m Rachel Gilsenan and I became Manager in August 2018.

I live in Stockingford, Nuneaton with Jim my husband of 32 years, my daughter, her fiancée and their little boy Milo. It was this small grandson who inadvertently brought me to the role at Purley Chase! As our house is always busy, what with family and animals large and small, I took Milo out for a drive in the car to try and settle him as he was teething.  Driving round the country lanes and by chance passing the entrance to Purley Chase, I saw the board advertising the vacancy and that is how it all began.

My role here at Purley Chase is to manage and maintain the smooth running of the centre together with the fantastic supporting team, and to make sure that all visitors have a welcoming stay.

I have previously worked within the healthcare sector, charitable organisations and for hotels and have over 30 years’ experience within the catering and hospitality environment.

I am committed to continue to deliver an exceptional standard of service at Purley Chase Centre and to make the home cooked meals as memorable and as appealing as the surroundings and the atmosphere.

I look forward to welcoming all our guests old and new.


Rev. Alison Southcombe – Programme Leader

Hello, I’m Alison Southcombe and following three years of study I was ordained in December 2017, becoming a Christian Minister within The General Conference of the New Church.

My role is to look after the spiritual welfare of people who come to Purley Chase, whether they have come to stay on a course or just dropped in and fancy a chat over a cup of coffee.

I have always had a strong faith in God but kept this as a private part of myself.  I worked for many years in marketing and PR and it wasn’t until I had come through a serious illness in 2014 and had to make some decisions about creating changes in my life, that I asked God for the opportunity to find the right job and that if it came along, I would take the hint and follow it up.  It was then that I saw the trainee role for Purley and was successful in my application.  From there commenced training and study of the Bible and the spiritual writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

The New Church uses the writings of the great Christian revelator Emanuel Swedenborg to open up and explore the inner sense of the Bible.  I mention this inner sense because many people find the Bible difficult, boring, or at best a book they feel has nothing to do with them and their lives.  However when looked at in its internal sense, it gives us a wealth of opportunity to explore ideas such as the spiritual world, angels and the heavens and most importantly our own psychological or spiritual growth.

In working with scripture in this way I see my role as helping people to see old things in new ways and for this shared experience to enrich our collective understanding.

Purley welcomes people from all faiths and all walks of life.  Home cooking, comfortable rooms and lovely grounds give it a head start, and with this in mind I very much look forward to welcoming visitors here.