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 26 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 Wednesdays I attend the King Cross centre and I attend Hydro at Ravenscliffe in the morning and in the afternoon I do baking.
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”.
Oliver – Next Stepper
“Hi. My name is Oliver. I come to the Next Step Trust two days of the week – Monday and Wednesday. I come to the Clare Road Centre. On other days of the week I go to Gateway and Mind the Gap which I also enjoy.
Before coming to Next Step I was a student at Ravenscliffe High School. I decided to come as soon as I left school which was five years ago. When I chose to come to Next Step it helped knowing that there were other people there who I also knew from school.
I really enjoy it. It makes me happy, and it’s also important to my family because they “….. are happy that Oliver is in a safe, well looked after environment”.
Next Step Trust offers things that the other places I go to don’t. Things like a weekly recycling run, gym and swim sessions, Zumba classes at Huddersfield sports centre and also soft play in a combat room there.
My favourite thing about coming to the Next Step Trust is meeting up with my friends, chatting with staff, and getting out and about. I would like to come more days than I do because I get to spend a full day at the centre but I do still like going to Mind the Gap and Gateway”.
Ruth, Louis’ Mum
“Louis has autism and was meant to leave Springhall in July 2020. We had chosen Next Step Trust as his most appropriate setting post school and had discussed a reasonably long transition which would start in February 2020 half term and continue gradually over the next months until July. This was agreed at his EHC plan in November 2019, with School, Next Step and Social Services. Unfortunately there were delays (by Social Services) which meant his start of transition was delayed and had not commenced by March 2020.
Then the world changed because of Covid 19 and in March we all went into Lockdown.
Louis was at home for the next 5 months with very little contact from Social Services and we were all in limbo.
In June, after a fortuitous meeting with a staff member from Ravenscliffe out on a Lockdown walk, I started making enquiries with Social services and Next Step about what was happening. This catalysed action and within 2 weeks there had been a Panel meeting and agreement of funding for Louis’ Transition. We met Helen Lane and Barry at Next Step and set out a transition plan for a 4 week period. Care staff came to our house to meet Louis and started to take him out on walks to get to know him. He gradually visited the Next Step venues including the Hoover building, which was under refurbishment.
After 4 weeks Louis started attending Next step daily and settled in very happily. Because of Lockdown a lot of activities like Gym, Swimming and supermarket placements were not and still aren’t available but Next step have involved him in cooking and he has enjoyed lots of trips and walks out and about. Communication with Next step has been great and we are very happy with Louis’ placement. I am happy to chat to any parents who are considering the Next Step as a post-school placement for their young adult.
Sharon, A.J’s Mum
“Staying open through this incredibly tough year (COVID Pandemic) has been a life line for A.J and his family.
The first six weeks at the beginning of the year were so stressful that we had to take A.J out in the car every morning and drive around to help his anxiety.
When we got the phone call from Harriet that the next step had reopened and A.J could spend that first morning back with Paul we all cheered in the car!
It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders.
A big THANK-YOU to Ross, Martin, Paul, Jade(Jake),Doris (Joris) & Dave (Nathan)
A.J is happy every day at The Next Step because of you all.”
Ann Barker- Katherine’s Mum
“Like all Next Steppers and their families, Katherine and her family have struggled with the extended lockdown and shielding. It has been a huge challenge to all. Katherine has become more ‘shouty’ and needs more attention than before. It has also impacted on her sleep which has knock-on effects on Mum!
We have truly appreciated the supportive and informative Next Step phone calls, text messages and updates in the post throughout this distressing time.
Next Step day-care and respite is like having our extended family in the immediate vicinity. You are supportive, non-judgmental and kind. All the staff are invested in looking after Katherine and providing a stimulating environment.
Without all of you, we would not have been able to cope as well with this dreadful pandemic. Please keep doing what you do; with the care, expertise and love which you have always shown to our precious girl.”
Ann Barker- Katherine’s Mum
Stefanie Shaw – Case Manager at Northern Case Management Limited
“Matthew has been coming to Next Step long before I started working with him as his Case Manager. We have all worked really hard together to provide the best possible care, support and life for him. He has a great rapport with lots of the staff and they have been consistent in helping him overcome some worries such as having his nails seen to and shaving. Most importantly he gets involved in such a wide and exciting variety of activities and he seems to love them all!
They also now provide an outreach service for him at home several nights a week. This provides further support for his family and an amazing continuity of support for him. Next Step’s commitment to keeping Matthew’s choices, preferences and best interest at the heart of what they do alongside a real commitment to team work has made working with Matthew and the Next Step team a real pleasure”.
Martin Evans – Director
“Staffcraft Ltd. has had the privilege of supporting The Next Step Trust with it’s Human Resources needs for the last five years.
You can tell a great deal about the quality of staff and management from the atmosphere within an organisation: Anyone visiting Next Step Trust will immediately be impressed by warmth and openness of the welcome. Stay a little while and the care and attention of the team for their service users will soon become evident. Look deeper and you will find a dedicated and professional leadership team providing unwavering support, setting the highest standards, and leading by example.
As HR professionals it is a real pleasure to work with an organisation that can always be relied on to follow best practice in people management. Even with professional support it can sometimes be hard for employers to engage fully with HR processes. The Next Step management is always ready to find the time and effort to achieve the best possible outcomes and to approach every issue with integrity.
Next Step Trust recognises that looking after their people is the only way to ensure, in turn, that service users are properly looked after – and it practices what it preaches: Anyone joining the team can confidently expect to be treated with respect, receive excellent training, and be offered opportunities for both personal and professional development.
We don’t see the work with the service users directly, but we do look closely at those looking after them – and that’s more than enough to give us confidence.”
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 then, 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 Next Step as a volunteer in 2012. I work Wednesdays and assist the kitchen staff at King Cross. Over the time I have been volunteering here, the number of people attending the centre has increased which means I am more busy and have more responsibility, but I enjoy the challenge and am proud of myself. 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”.
Megan Lucraft – Apprentice
“I started my apprenticeship at The Next Step Trust in September 2017.
Before starting my apprenticeship I always knew I wanted to go in to the business side of an organisation. I have a variety of different responsibilities such as answering the phone, ordering items for the Trust and working with the Next Step team.
I am learning every day and look forward to developing my skills and growing with the Trust”.
Work Experience Placement
Callista – 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”.