About us

Originally formed back in 1994 as The Junction, Harrogate Skills 4 Living became established as a charity in 2010 with the ‘day-skills’ centre-hub on North Park road in central Harrogate. During the past decade, our needs-led approach has resulted in lots of diversification and we’re proud to offer a wide range of care and support services for people with learning difficulties and autism in the locality.

From housing to employment and health to skills development we have a broad range of programmes available: we’ve even recently started two exciting new social enterprises – the Harrogate Chocolate Factory and the Harrogate Chocolate Factory Café both run with and by our trainees.

We’re not content to stop there though as we believe that there are still many other types of care and support services that are needed. That’s why in 2022 we’re starting our ENGAGE22 project which aims to find out what’s working well and what’s not working so well in our local community of people with learning difficulties and autism (including families and carers). This will be your chance to have a say about the future of social care and support services here in Harrogate - please watch out for further information coming soon about how you can get involved.

HS4L has a learning culture where everyone is encouraged to be the best that they can. We are also values based and our 5 'C' values are:
A graphic showing our core values of care, communication, courage, competence, and commitment
We recruit staff and volunteers whose behaviours demonstrate their core belief in these values and put our service users, their families and carers at the centre of everything we do.

Our trustees

Mike has spent the last 20+ years in the construction sector for various service streams working his way up to Board level. His key strengths include strategy, business development, management, leadership and finance and is currently working for 3 organisations at a consultancy and Board level and has recently become the Chair of the Trustees in 2022. Mike enjoys the gym and anything to do with the outdoors.
Barbara is a parent of three adult children, two with learning disabilities and autism. Having recently graduated from the Open University with a Master of Arts in Education (Applied Linguistics); Barbara’s studies focussed on communication with people with non-verbal or non-speaking autism and/or learning disabilities and those with ‘behaviours that challenge’. Prior to being a parent-carer, Barbara held a management role at the London headquarters of a telecommunications company; presently she works in the community and voluntary sector helping people with mental health needs and/or other barriers move towards training and employment. Barbara’s hobbies are creative textile crafts and outdoor pursuits such as walking, cycling and kayaking, she is currently learning to ski.
Jodie Williams is an Equality, Inclusion and Diversity professional who has worked across various sectors with the aim of making businesses and services more accessible and inclusive. Jodie has created and executed diversity and inclusion programmes and strategies across TV and Radio, Engineering and Utilities, Transport and now automotive. Jodie the first Head of Diversity and Inclusion within the automotive retail sector in the country. In 2019 Jodie was listed in the top 100 Northern Power Women future list and was also shortlisted in the Head of Diversity category at The European Diversity Awards. Jodie is passionate about race equality and in 2020 created an online exhibition about White Privilege which was then turned into a book - A Definition of White Privilege, the feedback was phenomenal and has been used to really help people understand everyday examples of white privilege and how racial inequality can impact day to day lives.
Bernadette was a successful inner city secondary and executive head teacher. She has 20 experience in strategic leadership, change management, organisation and logistics, human resource issues, financial and facilities management and working with families and children in difficult circumstances. Since her retirement as headteacher in 2010, she has continued to work part time as a school improvement advisor.