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.
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!
Stef Knowles - Form Filling Practitioner
Hi, I’m Stef and I am the Form Filling Practitioner here at Unique Ways. I can help you with any disability related forms, such as DLA, PIP, Carers Allowance and Short Breaks. This support normally takes place in a face to face appointment here in the office, but I can offer support over the phone and via email, depending on your needs.
My working background is in the Health and Social Care Sector, working mainly with both adults and children with disabilities and their families. I am also a parent carer myself so I can relate to some of the difficulties you may be facing, and understand the challenges for families with a disabled child, whilst also knowing all the wonderful things that come with being a parent carer and the amazing things we do.
I know from both professional and personal experience how difficult both practically and emotionally filling in forms about your child can be, so I am here to help you fill out the forms in a way that will produce the best outcomes for you, as well as supporting you through the difficult bits and relieving some of that stress from you.
Jodi Jackson - embership Support Administrator (volunteer)
My role with Unique Ways is: ‘Membership Support Administrator’ (volunteer)
What that means is: I help with the behind the scenes admin support as well as provide calls and peer support sessions. As a member of Unique Ways I really appreciated the help and support I received when I needed it and was keen to be able to give back to the organisation through volunteering. With a background in health visiting and being a carer myself I felt I was well placed to be able to help others and the team.