Our team

Dr Mohamed Warda


I founded Next Steps to support people with a learning disability and autism to achieve extraordinary things. Both perspectives underpin my understanding and compassion for the individual needs of the people we support and their families. My enthusiasm comes from people’s individual successes; watching people move into their homes and shaping their lives. I’m proud of the people who work for Next Steps that support this happening and I’m delighted that our efforts and successes are being recognised regionally and nationally.

Marwan Warda


I enjoy being part of the team and watching people undergo progression and improvement in their lives. In my role I work with local authorities and NHS commissioners to develop new and existing services and accommodation, designed to support people with learning disabilities to be part of the wider community. I am involved in service development and securing new properties.

Mike Welbourne

Non-Executive Director

I first encountered Next Steps about 6 years ago when my stepdaughter moved from a residential care home environment to supported living in the community. During this time my relationship with Next Steps has blossomed, as has the quality of life for my stepdaughter. I take pride in managing all the IT requirements of the company and being a sounding board for Mohamed as the company continues to expand and develop. It is a pleasure to support Next Steps in meeting the very specific needs of the people they support.

Sharon Ely

Operations Director

I have over 30 years experience working in roles from support worker to senior management positions supporting people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs. I am inspired by seeing the things people can achieve when they receive the right support and are given choices and opportunities to enable them to live their best lives. I am very passionate about the work I do and value and respect the contribution of our staff who ensure the people we support have good experiences. If anyone wants to get on my good side, then a strong black coffee usually works!!

Zelda Sparks

Operations Manager/Registered Manager (East Midlands)

Joining Next Steps has been such a positive move for me, I am enjoying working alongside like-minded, passionate people who encompass the true value of delivering quality care and support to all. I look forward to further developing my own knowledge and those I have the pleasure to be involved with.

Heidi Elmore

Finance Manager

Being Finance Manager sounds office based, but I have got to know staff and the people we support alike and enjoy visiting for events and giving support when required. We have regular visits from family and the people we support to the office and I take a keen interest in them. I work closely with management and ensure all finance aspects are well organised and streamlined throughout the whole company. Collaborative working is high on my agenda to ensure I support the management and progression of the company.

Laura Elmore

Business Analyst Manager

In my role, I analyse our software and systems to see how they fit the business needs. I will then identify and create new systems; help implement them and monitor their effectiveness. This has enabled me to build an in-depth knowledge of our services as well as work closely with all of our teams. I believe every person within our team contributes to making a difference in the lives of the people we support, and I am proud to be part of such an incredible team.

Moataz Eldemrdash

HR & Quality Manager

I’ve always believed that everyone should have equal opportunities. I joined Next Steps because of their values and the personalised service they provide for adults and children with learning disabilities, autism, and complex needs. We provide the people we support with the facilities and instruments that help them achieve success, as well as encouraging their abilities and potential to support their independence and integration as active members of society.

Eleni Marto

Payroll Manager

I joined Next Steps in October 2022, it’s lovely to work in a happy, calm environment with people who are committed and passionate with what they do. I have extensive experience working in retail which I believe has helped me fit in well within the diverse environment at Next Steps, making a difference and putting a smile to our staff every payday.

Macaulay Rayner

Service Manager (East England & London Boroughs) – Registration Pending

I joined Next Steps because I want to make a difference in people’s lives and ensure they receive high standard quality of care. I enjoy working alongside like-minded people who have the same morals and attitudes. Ensuring we are encouraging a positive outlook on life and concurring the hurdles in which we pass in our daily lives.

Zara Cardovillas

Team Manager (London Boroughs)

Next Steps is an amazing company to work for and be supported by because as a collective, all staff believe in the well-being of the people we support, enhancement of their lives, promotion of independence, with a delivery of person-centred care. And through hard work, determination, dedication, and amazing teamwork. We achieve it! I have steadily risen from a support worker to my current position with the encouragement, on-going support, and training from Next Steps. I am thoroughly enjoying this continuous journey and diverse job-role, while working with a fabulous team and inspiring the people we support.

Gifty Asare

Team Manager (East Midlands)

Having worked in the health and social care sector for about 12 years, the experiences gained with people with autism, learning disabilities, challenging behaviours and mental health issues have been great. The decision to join Next Steps about four years ago, has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have been given the privilege and opportunity to learn and grow in an inclusive company, where the values of the people we support and workers are treasured. My most enjoyable moments are working in the homes of the people we support and seeing the difference we make each day to their lives.

Pippa Wheat

Team Manager (Hertfordshire)

I started working for Next Steps in 2016 as a Support Worker with no previous care experience. With their support and guidance, I have been given the opportunity to develop my career as a Team Leader and then as a Team Manager. I have very much enjoyed this experience and working as a team to continue making Next Steps a great and valuable company to the people we support and staff, to achieve all that they can with a high standard quality of care.

Dunia De Freitas

Office Administrator

With previous experience working in not-for-profit organisations, I was happy to join Next Steps and share in their commitment to making a difference in people’s lives. As an Office Administrator, I get to see many aspects of the organisation, as well as supporting our management and office team.