Hi my name is Kay Sussex and I live here at Mill Farm, Charles Bottom with my partner Michael Paterson and two sons James and Jonathan aged 22 and 19, both of whom are on the autistic spectrum. Our other family members are our dogs, cats and horses. Mike and I have been keen riders for almost our entire lives and the boys have been riding since before they started school. Despite the difficulties they have with communication (Jonny in particular as he is non verbal) both have become more competent over time and to be able to all ride out together as a family is a real bonus.
We became aware of Next Steps when James started there as a trainee. He has benefited hugely from the experience, both from learning wood working skills and the friendships he has made. The inclusive ethos and real sense of community has increased his social skills tenfold. It was seeing the positive difference it has made to James that made Mike and myself want to get involved.
Kay Sussex - May 2020
Jack is 26 years old and was born with cerebral palsy which affects his speech, both arm and legs, Jack uses a electric wheelchair full time, he also has cardiomyopathy, and both bladder and kidney stones, Jack was told he was unemployable while at college, but soon after he was invited to come and look at Next Steps Development, which he loved every second he was there, and he's been there now about 3 years where his confidence has sored, he now works in the media department using computers to draw designs, Jack uses Makaton sign language, and an app on his l pad, his work friends some times program the app, (I don't no what he's going to come out with next) Jack teaches everyone Makaton and Jackaton, Jack is always treated with the greatest of respect from everyone he comes into contact with, within Next Steps, Jack says its his work family.
Donna Squires - January 2020