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
Sunny Freakley - Ordinary Lives Project Co-Ordinator
I have worked as a Family Support Practitioner at Unique Ways since January 2012. I took time out from work to stay at home with my two children after they were born – prior to being a Mum I was a National Strategy Manager for the NHS.
I became involved with Unique Ways as a parent of a child with additional needs myself, and over the years I have done many different things within the organisation. I started my Unique Ways career as a volunteer Parent Rep.
I became a Support and Information Practitioner in 2014, and underwent training as a Sleep Practitioner. I love working with families – helping them find the right support for themselves and their children, or working with them to finally get a good night’s sleep!
In my spare time I like to… just kidding! I’m a busy mum with three kids, so like most mums I don’t have spare time. If I did, the kids would fill it with bike rides, baking and, of course, homework!
Lucy Armour - Ordinary Lives Practitioner
For most of my working life, I have been employed as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and brain injuries, as well as being visually impaired myself and having an adult son with autism. This gives me a real insight into the many different aspects of how families and professionals work together, and a passion to see things change for the better.
I joined the Unique Ways team in January 2016, and this has given me plenty of opportunities to support the parent carer forum and Family Voice Calderdale, to make a difference in helping parent carers having their voices heard.
Outside of work, I am active in my church, as well as being a keen cyclist, riding with Calderdale CTC. I also enjoy spending time with my husband, son and extended family, eating out, going to the cinema and watching live music.
Helen Norris - Ordinary Lives Practitioner / Independent Supporter Co-Ordinator
I’ve been involved with the organisation since about 2008, first as a parent of a child with additional needs (my middle child has autism) and then as a member of the team since about 2010. My roles within Unique Ways have been varied – initially I started as a volunteer, then as a Trustee for the Board. However, since 2010, I have worked on behalf of Unique Ways both as a Person-Centred Planner and a Independent Supporter
As Unique Ways’ Independent Supporter and co-ordinator, I work with families, children and young people around the newly introduced Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. While I do support parents to navigate their way around the new system, my main role is to collate both pupil and parental voices ahead of an EHC request or conversion from an SEN statement, and support parents and young people to ensure their views are represented to a wide range of professionals – including schools and the Local Authority.
I love working for Unique Ways as I am passionate about inclusion, and supporting parents to get the best outcomes for their child.
When I’m not at work, I love spending time with my three children and my husband – we’re fairly active and enjoy getting out for long walks in the woods or days out, but these must include cake! I also love listening to old school music, baking and reading – when I get the chance!
Amanda Rorrison - Membership Officer
My name is Amanda, but I’m also known as Adah! I’m the Membership Officer, and the first face you will probably see when you visit the Unique Ways offices.
I spent the majority of my working life in the Banking sector, but after having my two children I wanted to do something for personal growth, and not just financial gain, so I went back into education and studied a Health and Social Care qualification.
I joined Unique Ways as a volunteer, and fortunately secured a permanent position in April 2013. I enjoy every day supporting parent carers through everything I can, from just wanting a chat and a cup of tea to facilitating parent support courses.
At home, I have a big, soppy chocolate Labrador and two hamsters to take care of in addition to my kids, and in my spare time I like to chill out watching box sets with a glass of wine and large bag of crisps!
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.