It’s important to us that there is a mutual connection between everyone involved in The Next Step Trust. Here you can read a cross section of personal accounts of what it means to be part of our community: From those who attend on a daily basis, to parents, professionals, volunteers, and those who have benefitted from time spent with us and progressed on to new ventures.
Amber – Next Stepper
“Hi, my name is Amber and I attend the Next Step Trust one day a week. I am 24 years old and I live with my house mates in supported living. Before that I lived with my dad and my sisters Carly, Emily and Molly.
I left school in July 2010 and did 4 years at college but they couldn’t find anything else for me to do so I looked at many different day centres and I chose The Next Step Trust because I know many of the staff members and Next Steppers from Ravenscliffe. My family is very important to me, I have a large extended family and like to keep in touch with them as often as I can.
On Tuesdays I attend the King Cross centre and I attend Hydro at Ravenscliffe in the morning and in the afternoon I help Asha at the front desk. I take messages, I make phone calls and I help Asha with balancing money.
I enjoy attending Next Step and I am very familiar and friendly with the staff and other service users. I get on very well with my support staff who explain my activities to me so I can understand.
Before coming to the King Cross centre I was attending the Clare Road centre in town, but due to there not being a lot of room for my electric chair, so now at King Cross I whizz around in my electric chair.
Attending Next Step has brought a lot of confidence in me and I am happy here”.
Jill, Amy’s Mum
“When Amy came to the end of her school life after 14 years of specialist education and support, there was very little choice for her in how she would be spending her time.
In spite of the fact that she was ‘in the system’, she left school at the end of the summer term with no firm plan and more or less became ‘retired’ at the ripe old age of almost 19 years! The local college and also an out-of-authority residential college both felt unable to meet her needs. The technical college in a neighbouring authority offered her a place but the large amount of travelling involved would have been a major problem for her. Amy was finally offered local authority day care, which at that time was not very challenging or stimulating for her, although as respite it was a good service. We had no choice but to accept the latter for three days per week and with the help of ILF funding, try to organise meaningful activities for the other 2 days.
Amy now attends The Next Step Trust for three full days and spends her time in a stimulating environment where she has access to computers with the software and switches she can use; where she can cook and eat her lunch with her friends; where she can benefit from all the things a multi-sensory room can offer; where she can be monitored by a physiotherapist; where hydrotherapy and gardening are on offer; and where she can use community facilities. But most of all she now has a focus in her life and is back in touch with her peers and not isolated at home with little more than shopping to fill her days. She is regaining skills she was losing and enjoying being with her friends again.
As for myself, as a parent I am now benefitting from the support structures that an organisation such as The Next Step Trust can provide. It enables me to meet up with other parents again and to feel that I am not alone. When our special children leave school, all the support that the staff of the school have given us, goes too. Suddenly it’s up to us. Parents have to take on the physical, emotional, educational, social and financial needs of their young person and that is not an easy task.
The Next Step Trust can provide us with the help we need to improve the lives and the futures of our young people”.
Sarah – Next Step Trust Support Worker
“I worked as bank staff at Next Step for two years during the holidays from my job in an Autism provision. I loved Next Step so much that I started working here permanently and have done for the last two years. Next Step is a fantastic place to be. We see our young adults reach their full potential and see the pride in their faces when they experience activities and achieve their goals. Working at Next Step is very emotional. We are so proud to see our young adults achieve above and beyond everything we hoped”.
Lorraine Neville – Placement Co-ordinator Health & Care Calderdale College
“I am the Work Placement Co-ordinator for the Health Department at Calderdale College and have worked in partnership with The Next Step Trust for many years.
Within The Next Step Trust our learners are always extremely supported and have gained valuable knowledge and experience throughout their work experience. Our learners have always enjoyed their time at The Next Step Trust and have commented on the friendly, happy atmosphere.
I personally have always felt supported and believe the professional partnership between The Next Step Trust and myself ensures our learners success.
Thank you for your support”.
Former Next Stepper
Anthony – Former Next Stepper
“I used to go to Next Step back in 2007. I was a Next Stepper for about three years. The staff were so nice to me. Helen Lane, who is now Head of Centre at Next Step, was my support worker when I was still at school so I knew I was going to enjoy coming to Next Step.
I liked my activities: A work placement at Tesco, bowling, relaxing in aromatherapy and skills sessions in the kitchen. Jill, the Head of Catering, always made me wash my hands before we cooked. I learnt many skills in the kitchen.
Working in a team and sometimes working independently whilst at Next Step helped me find a job. I was supported by Harriet and Gary on a work placement at a residential complex in Hebden Bridge. I worked there voluntarily as a kitchen assistant. This was all good experience for me and helped me achieve my next step.
I decided to rejoin Jill and her team at Next Step as a volunteer in 2012. I work Mondays and assist the kitchen staff across all three centres. Each week I help prepare a variety of meals to a “five- star” standard. I also help the Next Steppers in their baking sessions. This makes me happy and gives me a chance to catch up with some old and new friends”.
Asha Ramzan – Former Apprentice, now employed by the Trust
“I started my Apprenticeship at The Next Step Trust in August of 2012 after completing my A-Levels. I didn’t have any experience when I started working at the Trust, these 2 years have given me an opportunity to come out of my shell, the more I’ve grown, the more my responsibilities have grown also; from answering phone calls, taking messages to now assisting with the invoices and handling petty cash. Working with the team has been educational for me. Also I recently finished my Level 3 NVQ in Business Administration which now will help me determine my next step”.
Caroline Crosland – Catering Volunteer
“I feel very lucky to be able to help at Next Step. When I retired from teaching young adults with special needs I realised that I still wanted to work with people who needed special care. I work in the kitchen on Tuesday mornings helping to prepare the lunch and often there is a Next Stepper helping too. Everyone is very friendly and the Next Steppers enjoy learning new skills whilst having fun and enjoying what they have helped to prepare”.
Work Experience Placement
Callista Muteswa – Student Work Placement
Callista now works as a permanent member of our Support Staff Team, but the following is her story of how she progressed to join us full time:
My work placement “Learning Journey” at The Next Step Trust:
“I am currently doing my third year at Bradford University, studying a BSC Hons Degree in Health Well Being and Social Care. I started my work placement as a first year student and have gained lots of experience.
I really enjoyed my time at Next Step and I found my experience there to be relevant to my learning outcomes. I have learnt to work with others, to communicate effectively, to work on my own initiative, to keep records and to bring the best out of me. I have also found the team of employees to be very helpful and caring. Being part of the team was one of the best things I have been blessed with during my placement.
I then decided to come back again to do my second year placement. I also managed to achieve my learning outcomes. I was part of the team working with service users. I have learnt to be an effective learner and worker at the same time. I have learnt to reflect on my own contribution and decisions. This has helped me to correct myself in my own learning. I have been given the opportunity to work with different service users and different employees and doing different activities. I also managed to take part in some of the courses like moving and handling, food and hygiene.
I called this my placement learning journey because I still think it is a learning process and as an individual you can never stop learning in this field of work. I feel I have gained some knowledge that will help me in making career choices in the future. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every employee at Next Step Trust and most of all the management team for giving me the opportunity to be part of the Next Step team. I have enjoyed working with all of you. Also I would like to thank all the Next Steppers for making me feel welcome and for letting me work with them and learning from them too. I really appreciate everything you have done for me. Thank you”.