Christine Naylor – Co-Chair (Parent Of Next Stepper)

As mum to 30 year old Matthew, who has complex needs I was one of a group of  parents and professionals who recognised the need for the provision of a service that would meet his, and other similar young peoples’ needs when they left Ravenscliffe, the excellent specialist secondary school here in Halifax.

It seems a long time since but bM (before Matthew) I worked for a large building society primarily responsible for the mortgage budget gaining investment management experience. More recently I have worked for the Calderdale Adult Education department and enjoyed teaching adults with disabilities such topics as basic skills, health and wellbeing and art and crafts.  I have also been a support assistant for cookery, literacy and numeracy as well as swimming.

I am a trustee and past Chairman for a national charity, the Tuberous Sclerosis Association and am married to Philip, without whose help and support I would not be able to manage my various volunteer roles.  We have been fortunate that we are able to enjoy a reasonably active life with Matthew, who despite the complexity of his learning difficulties and his epilepsy, is physically able and very eager to walk and cycle on his tandem (at the back!) with his dad.

Like many parents of children with special needs, I have represented, attended, spoken at, lobbied and been involved with numerous organisations and events, with the sole intention of improving the lives of our offspring.  It therefore gives me great pleasure to see the development of the Next Step Trust into the flagship provision that we originally envisaged at the start of our journey.




Jon Pearson  –  Co-Chair (Parent Of Next Stepper)

I am a founding member and former Chair of The Next Step Trust which was established in 2006. As a parent of a disabled daughter Lucy I was driven to ensure that once she left school at 19 there was some meaningful provision in which Lucy could be stimulated but also in a caring , and safe environment with young people of her age group.

As a retired International banker, having worked for a range of UK and US financial institutions, I have encountered a raft of experiences which has assisted  me in delivering my duties and responsibilities as a Trustee.



John Mooney – Company Secretary

With a degree in engineering and a diverse career in UK manufacturing industry, I am currently self employed running a Packaging Compliance Scheme for local businesses providing environmental advice and consultancy.  I have been married almost forever and have a grown up daughter who loves to dance. When I am not working, I love to walk on the hills & moorland of Yorkshire.

I have been working with a number of organisations like The Next Step Trust for over 10 years, including Pennine Magpie, a like minded organisation in Calderdale for adults with less severe needs.





Mo Cawthorn

Mo lives in Halifax with husband and teenage son. She qualified as a solicitor in 1989 having studied at Manchester University. She trained in Manchester and practised in Leeds before joining Wilkinson Woodward in Halifax in 1992 where she is a partner. She specialises in employment and litigation work.

As well as being a trustee she is a governor at a local primary school.




Leigh-Anne Stradeski

Leigh-Anne Stradeski is the Chief Executive of Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax, West Yorkshire.  She came to Eureka!  in 2000 from Canada where she was  Executive Director of the first Canadian children’s museum in London, Ontario.

Leigh-Anne is a great believer in the importance and power of community, and has been involved in many charities on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Community Foundation for Calderdale for the past 9 years.

She has a particular interest in ensuring that children and young people with disabilities have access to opportunities and experiences which will enrich their lives and was therefore delighted to join the Next Step Trust in 2013.




Helen Thomson

Helen has been a nurse and midwife in the NHS since 1976 and moved to Huddersfield as Head of Midwifery in 1989, from a teaching post at a Leeds hospital.  She became the Director of Nursing & Midwifery and Deputy General Manager at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary from 1991.  Then in April 1993, when Huddersfield Royal Infirmary became a Trust, she took the post of Director of Operational Management, then moved onto become Executive Director of Nursing in April 1997.  Following the merger of Huddersfield NHS Trust with Calderdale NHS Trust, in April 2001, Helen was appointed as Executive Director of Nursing for the newly formed Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust.

Helen is a Council Member of the University of Huddersfield and in September 2012 became a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of West Yorkshire.  Helen is married with two teenage children.



Andy Peers

Since leaving the world of high street retail management in 2000, the last 17 years have been spent working to support individuals and organisations in the development and achievement of positive social change within our communities.

Over the years I have held the posts of Head of Sales for The Big Issue in the North; Chief Executive for The Big Issue South West; Executive Director for The Big Life Group of social businesses and charities; and both Operations Director for Yorkshire and then North of England Director at the British Red Cross.

As a provider of support to many individuals, social enterprises and charities in the development of their social purpose initiatives, I had the privilege of meeting the Management Team and Trustees at The Next Step Trust when the charity was just over one year old.

Such was the impact on me of the purpose of The Next Step Trust – but also the clear signs, even at that early time – of such a genuine and special culture that I have always been proud to retain my relationship with the organisation.

It is an honour to be a Trustee for this wonderful organisation and will bring all I can to ensure that we keep walking through life with the Next Steppers so that they, and their families, can live happy and fulfilling lives.

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