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”.
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”.
Sharon, A.J’s Mum
“We as a family are extremely grateful for the way your staff at Clay House helped us. Every transition for A.J in the past has been extremely stressful and we were all dreading the time he would have to leave Ravenscliffe. But Barry and his team were fantastic. listening to our concerns and taking all cues from A.J. The transition was a complete success and we are all grateful for the teams ongoing support. We have seen a big increase in A.J’s confidence and speech and he looks forward to every day at next step trust.
A big thank you to everyone involved”.
Claire – Support Worker
“I am a new member to this incredible team and this unbelievable family. I have been here for just a few short months, but I feel as though I have found a place I am meant to be for a very long time. In the past months I have learnt so much from not only the staff but all the Next Steppers also. I am so lucky to be a part of their lives and to have them as a part of mine making me laugh, smile and work alongside with them every day.
It is a service and workplace unlike any other that not only supports and caters for every individual’s needs but encourages, promotes and celebrates their own personalities and skills. There is such a wide range of support and activities available to all Next Steppers allowing them to achieve goals that are important to each and every one of them. Seing the relationships between these incredible people and staff that support them is a wonderful site and one I aspire to work towards every day.
Not only do the Next Steppers make this a fantastic service and place to work but the staff do also by being such a warm, welcoming, happy and totally dedicated team. They provide support to the Next Steppers as well as to all other staff members. I have learnt so much from them and know that I will continue to learn, grow and be a part of this family. I am one of the very lucky few people in this world who can say with a smile on my face that I truly love my job”.
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”.
Steve Heslop – Volunteer
“My name is Steve and I have been volunteering at The Next Step Trust for the last 4 years. I help with the Bikes Sessions during the summer and have previously helped with the Open Days and setting up for events that have taken place. The staff team are great to work with, always friendly and I have a good working rapport with them”.
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”.