• Creating a Community Where Everyone Belongs

About

My Life is an innovative charity that connects people with their communities.

We help to make lives better for people of all ages who need support to live a good life, including children, young people and adults with disabilities, people with ill health or age-related problems, and people who generally feel lonely or isolated within their communities.

We are also an accredited provider for AIM Awards and our qualifications are for all levels of ability and include a wide range of subjects, for example: performing arts, outdoor adventures, animal care and dog grooming, travel and tourism, photography, catering and hospitality, retail, gardening and growing, personal development, functional skills, and many more.

We are a membership based organisation and our members stretch from all over the UK, but primarily our work is delivered across the North West region. Anyone can join My Life, including people who need support, their mums, dads, brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, grandmas and granddads, PAs/support workers, volunteers and friends, as well as professionals, businesses and provider organisations.

Background

My Life CIC was formally established in June 2012 by Caroline Tomlinson, who was involved in developing the early thinking around self-directed support and who was instrumental in co-founding In Control, the organisation that put personalisation on the map nationally. She also innovated the idea behind the first social care e-marketplace, Shop 4 Support.

My Life was established as a result of a group of people with disabilities and their families wanting something different to traditional types of health and social care services, and wanting more choice and control over their own lives. For them, personalisation had started to become a reality and many were a new generation who wanted something very different.

Their expectations had also increased, as many people who needed support had already ‘dipped their toes in the water’ with direct payments. They had a good understanding of what good supported looked like, having been inspired by Caroline and the people who had pioneered personalisation. They definitely didn’t want the traditional types of ‘congregated’ services such as day centres, nor did they want to be isolated and lonely by doing everything on their own. Some were struggling to find things to do all day, and keeping everything working was causing them to run out of energy.

What they wanted was something inclusive, an opportunity to live a meaningful life, to be active contributors to their communities and help to make all this happen. But most of all, they wanted to establish friendships and relationships that would keep them safe for the rest of their lives.

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Our Vision

Our vision is simple… for people who need support to have a good life.

Our belief is if we all give a little, we will all gain and grow together.

Our goals are based on the citizenship model and focuses on six key themes:

  • Self-determination – to have real choice and control, but understanding that the more choice and control you have, the more responsibility you need to take.
  • Direction – to have a plan for the future, no matter what age you are.
  • Money – to be financially secure by having a sustainable income and money for support, as required.
  • Housing – to live in the right environment, with people you choose to be with.
  • Support – to have support provided in a way which makes sense to you.
  • Community – to have friendships, relationships and be able to contribute to you community in a meaningful way.

Our mission is to work in a person-centred way with people of all ages who may need support to achieve a good life for themselves, and to enable people feel in control of their own lives, have the emotional support to get through the tough times and have all the information and help they need to work out their own solutions.

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What We Do

My Life is about giving people a ‘hand up’ rather than a ‘hand out’. It is about recognising the skills, gifts and talents of individuals and using them to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

It’s also about creating meaningful opportunities for people, but primarily it is about preventing isolation and loneliness and giving people a sense of belonging.

With this in mind, we provide a range of day time opportunities, information, guidance, advocacy, coaching, training and support in education, health, care, employment and planning for the future.

Support for individuals and families:

  • We offer a range of inclusive indoor and outdoor day time opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. See our latest programme of opportunities to find out what we have running at the moment.
  • We organise trips and outings that stem from great ideas from our members. It’s a chance for people to come together, have fun and enjoy being in the company of others.
  • We organise lots of great training and events, such as the annual Inclusive Community Experience (ICE) in January/February each year which is a 3-day national event for people with disabilities, their families and professionals.
  • We run activity clubs for kids in the school holidays for all ages and abilities, from just £10 per child per day (My Life member rate), or £15 per day (non-member rate). Under 8s must be accompanied by an adult.
  • We offer information, advice and support on any aspect of getting a good life for your loved one. We understand personal budgets, personalisation, support planning, getting good care and support, and can help you to navigate around the ‘system’. If we don’t have the answer, we know many people who do, so can put you in touch.
  • If you need care, help or support but have money saved or own your own property, you may not be entitled to or indeed want help from the state. We can help our members to choose good quality care and support that is good value for money. We can also help if things go wrong, or you are not happy with the care and support you receive.
  • We can help our members find and keep great staff, as we regularly train and screen people who want to work as PAs/support workers. If you want to employ someone direct as a family, we can match you with someone will meet your requirements.We can also help you sort out job descriptions, contracts of employment, interview staff, get better value for money, and even support you if things get difficult or go wrong.
  • We can set up work experience and volunteer placements for individuals, tailored to their interests.
  • We invest time in our members and can help you to test out a new business idea. If successful, we can then help you to apply for funding to be able to run your own business, so local people can really benefit. Young entrepreneurs aged 12-30 can also benefit from up to £500 pump-priming to develop their business ideas.
  • We support young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, including those with more complex needs, to develop the skills and gain the qualifications and experience they need to get paid employment. We do this by providing work-based learning on site (supported internships).
  • We offer further education opportunities for young people aged 16-25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Our courses are for between 38-52 weeks a year and include a personalised support package, according to level of need. We focus on what young people can do, and we adapt learning to ensure personal outcomes are met, no matter how complex the need or disability.
  • Our Standish site is a Duke of Edinburgh Open Awards Centre for young people aged 13-25. We also offer the option to complete a bronze, silver or gold award as part of any further education course.

mylife2Support for PAs and support workers:

  • Our Pathways to Employment training course is for anyone interested in a career in social care. The training is ‘values-based’ so you don’t necessarily need lots of qualifications as we will match your skills with what the individual or family is looking for.
  • Following successful completion of the course, we also offer to members:
    – Work shadowing opportunities
    – Job coaching
    – Confidence building sessions and support with CVs, application forms and interviews
    – Access to further training and development opportunities
    – Ongoing support and mentoring
    – Peer support network
    – Access to counselling and bereavement support

Support for professionals, businesses and organisations:

  • We run a range of specialist training events, workshops and conferences, facilitated by experts in their field. If you are a member, these are discounted and you can attend yourself or send along your staff.
  • As a national champion of personalisation, we can support your organisation to transform and deliver true personalised services. Commission us to run personalisation awareness training for your organisation and mystery shop exercises.
  • If you are a social care provider, we can help you to evaluate your service against theMaking It Real progress markers.
  • We also offer bespoke training packages and team building courses.
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How We Are Run

My Life is a charity, limited by guarantee. We get some of our income from our membership and a small profit from the training, workshops and events that we run. We have a board of trustees and the day to day operation is overseen by Caroline Tomlinson, our CEO. The board of trustees give their time free to My Life which has enabled it to become a self-sustainable organisation.

Our approach is built on the model of citizenship, which is all about entitlement, rights and responsibilities. Since 2012, we have evolved into an organisation run by families of people who need support due to a disability, illness, mental health issue, or problems associated with old age. We possess a range of business expertise that enables us to be an effective voice for families and individuals, as well as a self-sustaining organisation.

Our trustees, staff and associates are experts in the fields of social care, health, education, the law, human resources and business, and all want to give something back to their community.

As a charity, we make sure that every pound we get is spent on the needs of people who want a good life. We are one of the few organisations nationally that do not rely on state funding, meaning we are totally independent, giving people a real voice and the autonomy to deliver exactly what our membership wants.

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CEO Biography

Caroline2Caroline Tomlinson is the CEO of My Life. She lives in Lancashire with her husband Robert and three children: Joe, Rosie and Jacob. Caroline became involved in ‘service-land’ as her eldest son Joe contracted meningitis as a child and was left with a huge range of complex disabilities.

In her attempt to get a good life for her son, Caroline home educated Joe, developed a wide range of inclusive play opportunities, accessed a host of learning opportunities, got several user-led organisations off the ground (eg. The Young Person’s Service, Embrace Wigan and Leigh) and more recently My Life, which is a not-for-profit social enterprise.

Caroline was one of the co-founders of In Control and innovated the idea behind the Amazon/Ebay of social care –shop4support. Her professional career has been wide and varied, from starting out as a riding instructor, to a purveyor of fruit and vegetables. She then settled into working within ‘service-land’ to make an ordinary life, not just for Joe, but for the many people who needed support. Caroline has worked in local authorities within adults’ and children’s services, primary care trusts and the third sector in many aspects of community development. She has presented internationally, wrote many articles and has written the book ‘The Essential Family Guide’. She has also been a finalist for Inspiring Woman of the Year at the Guardian Public Servant of the year, and more recently she was named as only 25 Mothers of Inspiration in the world by Nesta.

Caroline has particular expertise in encouraging and motivating communities, families and disabled people to make a difference to their life through creativity, leadership, positive thinking and proactively becoming involved in policymaking. Her vision is that individuals with disabilities and their families should be in control of their own lives and should have real choices about the type and quality of support they receive.

Caroline is an experienced and qualified mediator and works with individuals, families and the social and health care sectors to work out positive solutions that bring good outcomes for all stakeholders. She has an excellent ability to think ‘outside the box’ and it has been said that Caroline is one of the few people who can apply practical thinking into a strategic approach for change. She is a great connector of people and believes that spending the time to build positive relationships provides the key to better outcomes for communities.

As a great connector, combined with her skills as a social entrepreneur, Caroline has motivated businesses and the commercial world to take their social responsibility seriously and has several examples of businesses supporting social enterprises in the UK. Her common sense approach has greatly challenged the traditional service system in England and as part of the work with In Control has impacted significantly on government policy. “Caroline inspires you to think differently and use both your heart and your head to change the way we provide services” is a quote that has been used many times.

Caroline is currently completing her MA in Voluntary Sector Management and Leadership and has been selected for a place on the national transforming communities programme, as well as working on her biography. She has recently launched a paper with In Control about Individual Service Funds.

Caroline’s prime interest is working with individuals in their communities to create good, sustainable lives for people through a personalised approach. She inspires, motivates and talks from the heart, but most of all makes it real as she lives the concept on a daily basis.

Read Caroline’s article about her personal journey

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Useful Publications

Information about My Life is included in the following publications

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Testimonials

Denise Bowden

I’d just like to say that the food was so nice. All the catering needs for the four people who were, vegetarian, vegan and for myself pescaterian who were on my table were met without any fuss. I particularly liked to see all the ‘hint of pink’ outfits’. I thought the whole evening. was very entertaining. I hope there was a lot of money raised for MyLife. I attend reiki /massage sessions on a weekly basis and I benefit greatly from these. My grandson & nieces have taken part in the school holiday activities and they’ve enjoyed themselves. MyLife is such a great organisation for everyone to be involved in some way. Thank-You Caroline Tomlinson CEO & Team I think you all do a marvellous job!

Helen McLlwrath

What a wonderful place! As soon as i came through the ‘magic gates’ my mood was lifted! Everyone was so friendly and warm and welcoming and the atmosphere was fantastic and had such a positive vibe! Thank you x

Catherine Garner

Fantastic place!!! This is the first time my 5yr old son has run straight into a holiday activity without looking back. My children love attending the farm getting muddy and getting into the outdoors learning lots of fun things. The staff are all so welcoming and helpful. Five stars are not enough for such a wonderful place.

Claire Everitt

My Life is amazing!! My children love the holiday clubs and choir and drama. Such a welcoming and inclusive place. We have just all done Tough Swampy and had a brilliant day. Thank you to Caroline and all the staff.

Lee Morris – Wigan Council

I wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for kindly giving up some of your valuable time in meeting with Clair and I yesterday. It was great to see for ourselves the wonderful support you and your team deliver over at My Life @ Future Steps in Leigh.

Jo Fitzgerald, People Hub

I just wanted to say thanks so much. The event was exactly what we’d imagined…sociable, great mix of people, informative and inspiring. Brilliant!

Andrea & Gary Openshaw

Just want to say a massive thank you to all involved with the personal health budgets event at Thompson Equestrian Centre. The day was filled with excellent knowledgable talks, friendly and hospitable staff, stunning surroundings…. and the most delicious lunch!

Bhavini Badiani

I would just like to say a very big thank you to you for sharing your experiences and giving us useful advice and ideas as to how to get the best support for our young adults and the services offered to them.

I found your ‘person centred’ talk very useful.

I am the lady whose son likes music!  And after your talk I now understand that I can help my son realise his dream.  You have been truly inspiring!

Roger Hayes

I would like you to thank all who made the Country Fair such a success. We had a most enjoyable time and our efforts were financially a success. So much effort is being put in by many people to help those deserving people and you are all to be congratulated for your work. If at anytime you hold a similar event in which we can participate please let me know. It was the best thing to happen in Standish for 35 years!

Tony Cahill

Thank you very much for having me at your country fair!
It was a wonderful event – I really enjoyed it – you should be proud of yourselves!
I would love to attend one of your events in the future.

Conferences & Training Courses

I wanted to drop you a line personally to thank you for taking the time out to deliver such an emotive talk about the work of my-life. I know it was extremely well received by all the staff.

It’s the work of organisations like my-life that put into perspective the small contribution we make to individuals health and well-being within Bridgewater.

Thanks once again. I personally found your talk an inspiration; your tenacity and resilience for the benefit of individuals clearly shines through!

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Meet The Team

joe

Joseph Tomlinson

The inspiration behind My Life

Joe is 29 and has high support needs, but has a great life. He was one of the first people in the country to have a personal budget. With the help of his family and friends, he has managed to secure a mortgage, he has a great team of support staff, runs his own little business called The Odd Socks Enterprise, but more importantly he has friends. You will meet Joe at most My Life events – so make sure you say hello!

Steve Jones

Steve Jones, CBE

Chairman and Trustee

Steve is currently a Non Executive Director of iMPOWER Consulting Ltd, Chairman of Leigh Sports Village Company, and Managing Partner of the In Practice Partnership Ltd. He has been an improvement advisor to several local authorities and private companies, and mentor to a number of Chief Executives.

He was previously the Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council and of Wigan Council, Chairman of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, founder of In Control and Chairman of Shop for Support.

He also works with a number of families and individuals to help them navigate the complexities of public support systems and to help them to take control of their lives.

Alan Bell

Trustee

Alan has spent the majority of his working life involved in start-up business ventures in various commercial sectors, including property, construction, social and health care, and IT software development. His career path has involved research and analysis into specific sectors, identification of potential opportunities, selection of appropriate business partners, establishment of company infrastructures, recruitment of skilled staff and growth until eventual sale.

He has gained experience at many operational levels, from a one-man business to working as a team member on the Board of a major PLC subsidiary, and has extensive general business knowledge.

Andrew Keogh

Andrew Keogh

Trustee

Andrew was born and raised in Standish and returned 'home' after a few years working in London and other cities. He qualified as a barrister in 1994 and practises in the field of criminal and regulatory law.

He is the author of over a dozen published books and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical and Forensic Medicine. He is also a Director of CrimeLine Training Limited, providing one of the largest legal knowledge platforms for barristers, solicitors and government lawyers across the U.K and Commonwealth jurisdictions.

Amanda McDonough

Trustee

Mandy lives locally, in Wrightington. She is a conveyancer for a major house builder and has worked in the industry for many years. It was during a 9-year career break to raise a family that Mandy became involved in the local community, in roles such as a Beaver Scout Leader and Secretary of the school PTFA.

She began to really understand what community, people and inclusiveness really meant and having first met Caroline and Joe when Joe joined the Scout Group, Mandy was instrumental in making that experience for Joe the very best it could be. She went on to become a key member of Joe’s first circle of support and has seen how the innovation has helped him to lead a full, active and happy life.

Mandy is a natural community connector and firm believer in/promoter of community cohesion on all levels. She uses her passion to make a difference to help develop and support locally led organisations, including My Life.

Caroline Tomlinson

CEO

Caroline has has particular expertise in encouraging and motivating communities, families and disabled people to make a difference to their lives through creativity, leadership and positive thinking. She was instrumental in the development of personalisation and is an experienced mediator. In her role as a national and international speaker, she has worked with local authorities, the NHS and third sector organisations. Most recently, Caroline was named as one of only 25 Mothers of Innovation in the world by Nesta.

Karen Dunn

Marketing, Communications and IT Associate

Karen has vast experience of working in marketing and communications, having worked in the public sector for a number of years and then within the third sector. As well as producing all our marketing materials and maintaining our website, she also co-ordinates our conferences and events, issues press releases, oversees our social media and produces ‘easy read’ publications.

Nyle Yates

Communications & Technical Support Officer

Nyle is another graduate of our Pathways to Employment programme. He has recently returned from an 18 month trip around South-East Asia and Australia where he worked as a Tree Surgeon, rode a motorbike through the Hai Van Mountain Pass, became a qualified scuba diver along the way. He has a love for the outdoors and enjoys hiking, rock climbing, canyoning, caving and adventure holidays.

Tracey Tolley

Operational Manager (Leigh site)

Tracey is a great community connector. She is the operational manager of My Life @ Future Steps, and has range of practical experience including people and resource management, asset based community development and training/mentoring of staff.

Sandra Harker

Deputy Operations Manager (Leigh site)

Sandra is a graduate of our Pathways to Employment course. She previously worked at Wigan Youth Zone as a disability support worker with children aged 7-12, and prior to that as home help for Age UK. She has a son called Brett, who is in the Army Medical Corps, and her hobbies are reading, walking, the theatre and music.

Clare Roberts

My Life Support Manager

Clare has worked nationally and internationally with people that have a wide range of support needs and their families. She has worked extensively in community development and innovating new types of community organisations. She leads on hospitality and on-site activities.

Linus Mortlock

Safeguarding and Pastoral Care Manager

Linus has worked in a variety of settings, from voluntary sector, NHS and local authority. He is a qualified social worker and his previous role was as a programme supervisor for a treatment foster care programme. Linus leads on safeguarding and pastoral care for both staff and learners.

Toby Titherington

Customer Services Co-ordinator

Toby has joined us from The Chill Factore in Manchester, and prior to that worked as Guest Experience Supervisor at Merlin Entertainments. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the leisure industry and customer services. Toby has a keen interest in martial arts and yoga and has a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu.

Andrew Tyson

My Life Support

Andrew has spent most of his working life as a social work practitioner, a manager and a commissioner of care services in Sussex. He describes himself as someone who believes that in human services, people should always come first. He is now an independent writer, trainer and facilitator. He has worked for around thirty years in social care and health, mainly supporting people with mental health issues and those with learning difficulties.

Andrew will be helping us to develop the My Life Support concept which will enable people in the community to have choice and control over their own lives without the hassle of all the administration of managing your own budget.

Mike Nuttall

Strategic Business Development Lead

Mike has worked in the public sector for well over 30 years. Most recently, he spent 6 years years as the Chief Executive of a local authority. He has considerable experience of working at a senior level alongside partner organisations, delivering services and projects that make a difference to local communities. Prior to this Mike was a Director of Finance for 20 years managing a wide range of services and making use of his skills as a qualified accountant. He is now using this vast experience to assist us on our journey as we grow and offer support and opportunity to more people.

Wendy Yates

Monitoring, Compliance and IV Assessor

Wendy has spent the last fourteen years working in a work based learning, European Social Fund (ESF) and further education environment. With a broad understanding and wealth of experience in funding, project management, apprenticeships, traineeships and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Wendy is responsible for co-ordinating quality and compliance at My Life. She is also a qualified teacher, assessor and internal verifier. In her spare time, she enjoys renovating houses and holidays.

Amanda Gough

SEND facilitator

Amanda previously worked at One Vision Media Productions as a project facilitator, working with adults with a range of disabilities and complex needs. She has media degree and is trained in adult education level 3.

Emma Reed

SEND facilitator

Emma is a graduate of Edge Hill University, where she obtained a BA (Hons) in Dance and a PGCE in Further Education with a specialism in SEND. She is also a zumba instructor at Total Fitness and besides dance her hobbies are shopping, fashion, travelling and watching soap operas. Emma runs sessions in arts and crafts, dance, functional skills and independent living skills at both our Leigh and Standish sites.

Kate Stokes

SEND learning support worker

Kate joined My Life from Newman College in Preston, where she was studying musical theatre, drama and theatre, sociology and travel and tourism. Her hobbies are singing, dancing, playing the piano and guitar.

Amy Makinson

SEND learning support worker

Amy is a graduate of our Pathways to Employment programme. She previously worked in the banking bereavement sector for 13 years, before taking on the role of support worker eighteen months ago. She's an animal lover, who enjoys sports and socialising.

Jodie Crompton

Deputy Office Manager

Jodie is a graduate of our Pathways to Employment programme and originates from Bolton. She has previously worked for Bolton Council, property vehicle and personal injury insurance, travel, banking and legal services. She loves all things travel and has recently backpacked around South-East Asia and Australia, as well as road trips through Europe and hopes to eventually travel the world. She loves socialising and meeting new people, musicals, theatre, camping and outdoor adventures.

Lynn Worrall-Reid

Finance Officer

Lynn previously worked as a support worker, which gave her a sound knowledge base in disability awareness and a desire to work within the third sector. Lynn is qualified in finance work and has spent the past 11 years as the Finance Officer at Crossroads Care North West. Lynn has joined the finance team at My Life and is looking forward to being involved in the next chapter as My Life continue to grow and launch new opportunities for all. She enjoys socialising with friends and family and listening to music

Hana Raynes

Finance Apprentice

Hana joined My Life after completing her A levels at Winstanley College in Business, Psychology and ICT. She is now completing her apprenticeship with us in Accountancy. Hana has a keen interest in Horses regularly competing her 2 horses Samson and Tubbington.


Molly O'Neill

Business Administration Apprentice

Molly joined the My Life team after recently finishing a Business course at Wigan and Leigh college. She started with us in 2017 and began her Business Administration apprenticeship and her hobbies include socialising with friends and family, shopping, going to the gym, listening to music and attending festivals.

Kate Oakes

Marketing, PR & Communications Associate

Since beginning her career in radio, Kate has worked as a Marketing Manager and Creative Director for a variety of organisations. Having previously held the role of Marketing Manager for shop4support, the Amazon/Ebay of social care, Kate is very pleased to now be supporting My Life with our marketing and communications. In her spare time, Kate enjoys writing children’s stories.

Craig Fowler

Catering and Hospitality Manager

Craig has thirty years’ experience in the catering and hospitality industry. He began his career at 15 years old working as a kitchen porter in a hotel in Gloucestershire, where he grew up. He rapidly worked his way up through the ranks to head chef - working in Wales, The Isles of Scilly – where he fed Prince Charles (amongst many other celebrities!) – London and the Cotswolds. For the past 12 years he has lived in Southport and has led on the opening of three successful local restaurants, the most recent being Crosby Lakeside bar and Bistro. Craig has two children and enjoys drinking craft ale and travelling.

Linda Derbyshire

Kitchen Assistant

Linda originally came through My Life's gates as a volunteer, she liked it so much that she enrolled on our Pathways to Employment course and became an associate! Linda enjoys working in the My Life kitchen, cooking, baking and working with the students.

Nigel Lyons

Advocacy Co-ordinator

Nigel qualified as a learning disability nurse and social worker in 2003. He went on to spend seven years managing specialist residential homes for people with autism and complex behaviours. As well as providing music therapy, he now co-ordinates our advocacy service, which provides independent advocates for diverse groups of people within Wigan borough.

Maureen Holcroft

Advocacy and fundraising administrator

Maureen previously worked as a senior administrative officer in a local primary school before joining the My Life team. She is an experienced fundraiser and administrator, and loves the victorian vintage era and everything arts and crafty.

Allison Rainford

Advocate

Allison is one of our advocates and she also supports Joe. She has been his PA for 8 years, and with My Life from the very start. She also runs our Respect Reflex inclusive clubnights.

Nina Owen

Advocate

Nina is another of our advocates. She is a qualified tutor and a graduate of our Pathways to Employment programme. She used to have her own retail businesses, but decided on a career change two years ago and now supports one of the founder My Life members, as well as being an advocate.

Elle Bradshaw

Advocate

Elle has a BA (Hons) degree in Children Schools and Families and is now in her second year of her Masters in Social Work. She began working at My Life as part of her learning placement earlier this year. She made such an impact that we snagged her for the Advocacy department as an associate at My Life. In her free time she enjoys makeup artistry, camping and holidaying in the sunshine!

Lincoln Yates

Outdoor Education Tutor

Lincoln is our very own Bear Grylls. He has twenty years experience in adventure travel and the outdoors. He’s travelled to over 60 countries, guided groups up Kilimanjaro and Everest base camp and several of the UK’s highest peaks. He is a qualified climbing and abseil instructor, and in the Times Travel Guide 2007 he is listed as the sixth most interesting person to know about adventure travel in the U.K. Lincoln is currently writing a book about all his adventures around the world and most weekends he can be found either geo-caching, underground, high on a cliff, kayaking or just enjoying the countryside.

Lincoln is one of the expedition leaders on the My Life September 2017 trip to ascend Mount Jebel Toukal in Morocco.

Steve Bannister

Horticulture and Outdoor Activities Co-ordinator

Steve has worked in horticulture since leaving school. He is a qualified horticultural craftsman and previously managed the largest propagation unit in the north of England, before managing the prison glasshouses at Kirkham. His role at My Life involves developing horticulture on our Standish site and co-ordinating outdoor facilities.

Emma Trafford

SEND Learning Officer/Children & Family Liason

Emma is a primary school teacher by profession and is a graduate of Partners in Policy Making and our Pathways to Employment course. As well as providing 1:1 support, she is the families first point of contact when starting the SEND programme. She loves the outdoors and camping with her family.

Emma Moore

Dramatherapy Associate

Emma is a qualified a creative arts therapist, specialising in dramatherapy. She works part-time at My Life and part-time within the prison and education services, where she provides group and individual interventions. Emma has a keen interest in the arts and is an enthusiastic teacher, writer, director and performer.

Daniel Carmichael

Creative Arts Associate

Daniel is a recognised comedian, performing in excess of 300 times throughout his four years on the circuit. He is part of a comedy troupe at Edge Hill University arts centre, and has also worked within the prison service. Daniel recently established ‘Blank Space Theatre’ with his partner Emma Moore.

Sian Bint

Children & Young People's Activity Coordinator

Sian is a graduate from our Pathways to employment course. Her previous experience has been as a Teaching Assistant in a Primary School for 11years and a Personal assistant. She has been a Beaver Scout Leader in the Wigan Borough for over 10 years and plays her part in the community. Her hobbies include walking, making all occasion cards, reading and spending time with her family.

Louise Rainford

Dog groomer/SEND tutor

Louise is a professional dog groomer and manages It’s a Dog’s Life and our doggy day care. She has over 15 years experience of dog grooming and has previously had her own salons in Appley Bridge and Aspull. Louise teaches dog grooming at My Life and how to interact and care for the dogs.

Sarah Bickerton

Customer Liaison Associate

Sarah has 25 years’ experience as a social worker, trainer, mentor and facilitator of person-centred planning, thinking and practices. She is committed to supporting and working with children, young people and adults with learning disabilities, autism and additional needs to achieve a good quality life. Her approach is underpinned by the principles of rights, choice, independence and inclusion, coupled with a strong belief in equality and human rights. Sarah lives in Southport and has two dogs and two children. In her spare time she loves to play scrabble and travel.

Carl Platt

Deputy Horticulture Manager

Carl is a graduate of our Pathways to Employment programme. He is passionate about wildlife and the outdoors and as well as supporting people to participate in our workshops, he helps to facilitate our ‘Farmer for the Day’ sessions.

Joanne Smethurst

Support worker

Joanne is also one of the graduates of our Pathways to Employment programme. She supports people either on a one-to-one basis, or as group support and helps with the day-to-day housekeeping of the site and our two short breaks facilities on site.

Karen Platt

PA in Health, Education & Care

Karen is a graduate of the Pathway to Employment course in 2017. She previously worked as a Teaching Assistant, administration in a local high school. and has a vast sports related background, having worked in sports development. In her spare time Karen loves to walk, camp, caravan, travel internationally and look after her border collie 'Jess'.

Lynn Cottriall

PA in Health Education and Care

Lynn is another graduate of our pathways to employment programme. She previously worked in a Senior Management role in the Banking Sector and most recently in the catering sector. She was a chair of governors for 20 years at a Primary school and in her spare time enjoys motorcycling through Europe, walking her dogs, home decor, knitting, and sewing. Her personal motto is: It's nice to be important, but more important to be nice.

Nicky Aspinall

PA in Health, Care and Education

Nicky is a graduate of our Pathways to Employment programme in 2017. She previously worked in primary education for seven years and is currently completing a top-up degree at Edge Hill University. Nicky appreciates spending time with her family and enjoys country & coastal walks with their three dogs.

Karen Crompton

Support Worker

Karen is one of our graduates of the Pathways to Employment programme. She has previously worked within the social care sector ranging from nursing homes to home help. Karen now enjoys support work and carrying out day opportunity sessions at My Life and is looking to further progress her career, learn new skills and meet lots more wonderful people whilst she is here.

Jason Hall

Support worker/Site maintenance officer

Jason is a graduate of our Pathways to Employment programme. His previous jobs include an infant school caretaker and HGV driver for over 15 years, and he had his own bicycle shop for a while. He enjoys the great outdoors, cycling, fishing, camping, motorcycling and has a keen interest in DIY. As well as supporting individuals, Jason helps with the general maintenance of our Standish site.

June Halliwell

Support worker (Leigh site)

June previously worked as a support worker at Wigan Council for over 15 years before joining My Life @ Future Steps. She has lots of experience and is a really good organiser.

Wendy Dickinson

Volunteer Artsworker

Wendy is a graduate of our Pathways to Employment programme. She previously worked in mainstream education for 15 years teaching art & design. Wendy has an MA in Education from Manchester Metropolitan University and obtained a BA (Hons) in Textiles/Fashion at the same University.

As well as volunteering part time at My Life , Wendy spends time creating her own artwork using mixed media collage.

Bill Moore

Associate Support Worker

Bill is a welder, fabricator and training coordinator for NVQ's and assessments. He has recently completed the renovation and relocation of our on site model railway. His hobbies include building model railways and is currently in the process of constructing his own model railway in his attic at home.

Joshua Stubbs

Horticulture Apprentice

Josh is a graduate of our Pathways to Employment programme. He joined us from The Prince's Trust and has a keen interest in horticulture and the outdoors. Josh works with the My Life gardening, growing and site maintenance teams.

Katie O'Neill

Animal Care Apprentice

Katie has recently joined us as an Animal Care Apprentice. As her job roles suggests, she has a keen interest in working with animals, including dogs, horses and rabbits.

Summer Grimshaw

Apprentice PA in Healthcare & Education

Summer has just finished high school, and after completing a short period of work in a primary school she applied for an apprenticeship in Healthcare and Education here at My Life. When she is not working hard for us she likes listening to music and socializing with friends

Mia Carrier

Apprentice PA in Healthcare & Education

Mia has just completed her GCSE's and left school and now has begun her apprenticeship in Healthcare & Education. In her spare time she likes socializing with friends and caring for her 3 dogs.

Adam Lockwood

Apprentice PA in Healthcare & Education

Adam has been coming to My Life for over a year, he recently finished school and started with us full time. In his spare time he likes eating Dominos pizza and caring for his cats, dog, fish, tortoises, snakes, chameleons, geckos and hamster.

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Registered charity number 1167858 - Registered office: Thompson House Equestrian Centre, Off Pepper Lane, Standish, Wigan, Lancashire, WN6 0PP

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