Unique Ways is run by a dedicated, supportive and friendly team, most of whom are parent carers ourselves. We come from a range of different backgrounds, but have all come to Unique Ways out of a desire to achieve the best possible outcomes for our children – and to help other parent carers to do the same.
Shona Walsh - Chief Executive Officer
I’m delighted to be joining the team at Unique Ways.
I’ve worked within the Voluntary and Community Sector in the North of England for nearly 30 years, mainly in income generation.
I’m a Scot, but no longer feel I live in a foreign land, as Yorkshire feels very much like home now after living here for 10 years. I moved to West Yorkshire in 2008 from South Manchester.
In my downtime, I love music (mainly 80’s & 90’s) and still enjoy going to gigs. I also enjoy travel (UK and overseas), weekend walks, the theatre and am very much a reader.
Martin Reynolds - Office Co-Ordinator
I’ve worked for Unique Ways since February 2014. Previous to my employment, I volunteered as a Finance Administrator and also sat on the Board of Trustees for two years.
I have two children, and my eldest has a disability – so as well as a member of staff, I’m also a parent member. As well as looking after the day to day running of Unique Ways, a large part of my role involves looking after the finances to enable families to access all the support we provide, and ensuring that parents and carers have a voice and influence on services. You may also find me in the office solving IT issues – or with a screwdriver in my hand!
During my downtime, I can be found looking after my children (Dad’s Taxi), running and cycling the many hills of Calderdale, watching the mighty Shaymen, or on the golf course (usually looking for that wayward ball), and I also enjoy cooking and the odd glass of bourbon
Heidi Coney - Family Voice Co-Ordinator
I have worked as the Family Voice Co-ordinator here at Unique Ways since May 2017. Before that I worked in the marketing sector for many years and then decided to have a change of career and trained as a counsellor. After some years bringing up my children I got a job as a counsellor in the NHS and this role made me appreciate the real importance of good emotional wellbeing and especially for parents. I have also volunteered for several Calderdale charities over the years including Samaritans and more recently Home Start where I enjoyed the practical aspect of helping families.
When I’m not at work I like reading, cooking and swimming for relaxation. I also love spending time with my two boys and husband and literally running around after them – we all do the Park Run on a weekend and I recently completed my first race, the Manchester 10K.
Nicola Hanson - Membership Practitioner
My career began in PR and public affairs but the corporate world wasn’t for me and I found my passion in Education and family support, working directly with children in schools,nurseries, and the Portage Team before working for a local charity, writing and delivering programmes to support learning, development and communication through sensory play and training to parents and practitioners to raise awareness and boost inclusion and support child development.
As well as more than 10 years professional experience including school governance, I also have 3 fabulous children, one has SEN and my eldest daughter has an acquired disability. This has given me a real insight and first hand experience into so many of the challenges and issues faced by families and children, and of the services that support them.
Finding the right support was critical for me and so I am thrilled to be in this role helping others to do the same. I am brimming with ideas and enthusiasm and a huge desire to welcome new members, create a friendly space for parents to build their confidence in becoming their own family’s advocate, and to meet others who can help and understand. I aim to strengthen links to other services and agencies locally so we can maximise the support available to our members and increase membership across Calderdale.
For me the best thing in life is being passionate about what I do, and seeing positive outcomes as a result. I love theatre, live comedy, art, adventures and great food (we love cooking at home). I can lose myself for hours in bookshops and love days out with the family and our dog, Max, and of course a good picnic!
Skye Barrett - Form Filling Practitioner
I started my role at Unique Ways in April 2021. I have accessed their services as a parent member for as long as I can remember.
I have an amazing autistic teenager, who grew up in Calderdale and attended two different special needs schools in the area. I am very knowledgeable about local services. I have become a bit of an expert in form filling over the last 17 years out of complete necessity. I have supported parents in the past with form filling in my volunteer position at a local autism charity.
In addition, I’m a fine artist who creates large scale installations and performance work. I am also a musician and spoken word artist. I create work about trauma and disability. I myself have a diagnosis of ADHD and I think this helps me understand some of the challenges faced by our kids and also by parents who may themselves have additional needs.