“Well here it is, my time has come. Won’t be long I’ll be moving on. I can’t complain, I’ve had my day. Now I’ll be on my way”

The Saw Doctors

We extend a huge thank you to Jon for all the input and expertise he has offered over his fourteen years with us. He has been an unwavering cornerstone in the success of The Next Step Trust and we will continue to uphold the level of drive and motivation he has inspired as we move forward.

Trustee and Parent, Christine Naylor, explains Jon’s story:

Jon Pearson became involved in the Next Step Trust before it even was the Next Step Trust. His wife, Tracey ‘volunteered’ his services to the group of parents at Ravenscliffe High School who were trying to find their way through a maze of options to develop a day service provision for their children as young adults in Calderdale. Before The Next Step Trust, there was no provision for young adults with severe and complex needs and as mum Jill Mitchell said, ‘they stepped off the edge of the cliff’ after leaving school with nothing apart from the 4 walls of home!

Enthusiasm abounded amongst the parents wanting to set up this new facility but experience and expertise were sadly lacking, until Jon joined the group and then suddenly we began to move forward into a force to be reckoned with. Jon’s first huge contribution was to complete a grant application that we had applied for through Action Halifax. The form was so complicated that the grant making body actually offered a 3-day course on completing the paperwork! Jon just got on with it and we were rewarded with a large grant that funded the conservatory extension. This was the first of many bids he wrote, without which we would not have been able to move forward as we have done. In fact, he was known at Ravenscliffe as the ‘BidMeister’ having been sosuccessful in his bid applications. And if Ravenscliffe have a lot to thank him for, then the Next Step Trust
has even more.

It’s very difficult to summarise what an enormous contribution Jon has made to the Next Step Trust but over the 14 years that he was a trustee he was an exceptional Chairman on two occasions. His generous, professional and committed attitude made him a great leader of the small team of trustees and he has shown the way in the ongoing development of Next Step into the organisation that it has become. Two years ago, with his fair and honest negotiating skills we purchased the small respite provision in Ripponden which is proving of great benefit to a growing number of Next Steppers. And he is still involved in the development of our latest and biggest project thus far, the Hoover Building, which in time will become our new flagship centre. Jon is well aware of the many challenges that can be encountered along the way to creating a service like The Next Step Trust and he has worked well with all our staff team to enable this to happen and especially with Preet our CEO.

In her words:
I echo Chris’s sentiments in that it is difficult to summarise Jon’s impact on not just the Trust but also the supporthe has given to the staff team and more specifically to me. Jon has been a mentor; sounding block; but most of all he has been a friend standing by us through some challenging but worthwhile developments. There has never been an idea too unrealistic or a thought too unusual that he was not willing to consider. Jon’s financial andproperty purchase experience and acumen have been invaluable in the progress we have made in the interest of the next steppers. He has been generous in sharing his knowledge and left us, in particular me, slightly more qualified through the experience! I am grateful to have had Jon as a guide over the last few years and know he will be there to support us in the future.

Jon certainly doesn’t seek accolades, rather the reverse and will quite willing stand aside for others to get ‘the feather in their cap’! Jon enjoys life; is a good sport a great dad to Lucy and an inspiration for The Next
Step Trust. And now he’s decided to call it a day! He and Tracey are often packing their bags to set off on their travels to all parts of the globe. We certainly wish them well and give our more than grateful thanks to them. We will certainly miss you Jon. A very hard act to follow.