Friday, 3 December 2010


I attended the Steps Celebration at Weetwood Hall this morning...

This was another wonderful celebration of some amazing colleagues and some wonderful parents and carers. STEPS changes lives and the stories we have heard from these talented individuals make this programme one of the most important things we do and I am deeply grateful to my colleagues Chris Bennett and Val Cain who have worked so hard to deliver these programmes across Leeds over the last six years. It was great that Neil Straker also found the time to come and celebrate some incredible people's achievements. Neil has attended everyone of the STEPS Celebrations and is a great friend to Leeds. We all listened to two incredible stories this morning; Paul Hudson's story and Anna Travers' story and everyone there was simply inspired by these two ordinary, yet extra-ordinary, people who had changed their lives after attending the STEPS programme. It was also wonderful that Lou Tice, the founder of The Pacific Institute, had recorded a message for us earlier this week celebrating our achievements together here in Leeds and thanking me for everything I have done to make STEPS such a success. He told us that we had become an international centre of excellence that demonstrated the real power and impact of STEPS.

At the end of the morning my colleagues presented me with red wine and chocolate to thank me for bringing STEPS to Leeds and championing this incredible programme over the last ten years. I was also given The Pacific Institute's 'Keith Jackson' Award to keep. The award has been presented every year in memory of our dear friend and colleague and Neil Straker announced that from next year there will be a new award called The Pacific Institute's 'Chris Edwards' Award. It was a real surprise and a great honour. I was also deeply touched by the gift I received from my colleague Paul Hudson who gave me the first guitar he had made after he attended a STEPS course, which had clearly changed his life.

This morning provided even more evidence about the effectiveness of the STEPS programme and we must ensure that it continues here in Leeds. We must continue to work with and support the 300 facilitators we have trained and the 4000 plus colleagues, parents and carers who have been through the programme and whose lives have been touched by this brilliant programme. We must all continue to be powerful ambassadors and advocates for a programme that changes lives, saves lives and makes such an incredible difference where it really matters.

1 comment:

Ali said...

I agree that we must keep STEPS going in Leeds - it has changed the lives of some of our parents in a postive way. Thanks Chris