What is a Community Interest Company?
We are a not for profit Community Interest Company (CIC). A CIC is a legal structure designed for social enterprises who want to use their profits and assets for the benefit of the public and community. There are special features in place to ensure that this happens. Hopeful Futures CIC has an articles of association in line with The Companies Act 2006.
To create opportunities for autistic people, those with learning disabilities and their families, to thrive within local communities.
We are a values based organisation which means that our values guide and underpin all of our decision making and everything that we do. We are also a disability positive organisation which means that we value the strengths of neurodiverse people, and we do not believe that difference equals deficit.
We want Hopeful Futures CIC to be a place of safety, rest, refuge, healing and growth. We want to practically live out our service values of LIGHT:
Love: Motivated by our Christian faith and Jesus’s example, all people need and deserve to be loved, we want to demonstrate Christ’s love for others through our words and actions
Integrity: Upholding the importance of transparency, honesty, authenticity and openness in all of our communications
Gentleness: People who come to us are likely to have had a number of traumatic life experiences. We want to be good listeners, understanding, empathetic and kind at all times
High Expectations: We want to provide high quality services, based on best practice and evidence-based approaches. We believe all people are made in the image of God, gifted with unique abilities and talents. We believe all people can thrive and achieve their goals with the right kind of environment and support
Time: In our fast-paced modern world, people need quality time more than ever, we want to slow down and give people the time they need
Meet The Team
Community Art Assistant
Alice started working for Hopeful Futures in 2019 as a clinical advisor. Since August 2020, Alice has been working for the organisation full time in the capacity of service manager & managing director, overseeing the current projects and future plans for the service.
Alice is a registered learning disability nurse, qualifying from Bournemouth University in 2013. She has a particular special interest and practical experience in using positive behaviour support and associated person-centred approaches, advocating for these proactive and values led strategies to be more widely used. Alice completed a masters in psychology from the University of East London in 2017. She has worked in a psychology-based role and a range of nursing roles, with children, young people and adults who have complex physical, mental health, learning disability and autism needs. Alice enjoys spending time with friends & family, reading and crocheting.
Founder & Chair of Board of Directors
Alison has co-founded three organisations in Newham between 2002-2020 which have all been based on person centred foundations, disability focused and values led. She first set up the charity Real Life Parenting (RLP) to support families with disabled children and young people in Newham, she was the co-managing director between 2002-2012.
In 2014 the charity Hope and a Future (HAAF) was set up to enable a family support network over four London Boroughs; Newham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest and Barking and Dagenham. Hopeful Futures CIC was set up in 2018 by Alison and her husband Simon. Alison has a postgraduate diploma in Therapeutic Communities and Group Work (RCN 1990) and her dissertation was on Organisational Change Processes. In each organisation that she has worked, her role has been to develop and lead on the strategic vision and underlying philosophy.
She has produced documents and infrastructure to support values led cultures. Alison also works for PBS Newham as a co-production partner, training local organisations in the borough on PBS and person-centred approaches. She has worked as an expert by experience on behalf of the NHS for Care and Treatment Reviews as part of the Transforming Care agenda to prevent admissions or improve discharge planning for those with learning disabilities, autism and behaviours that challenge who are either at risk of or are already detained in an inpatient psychiatric service. Alison loves words; writing is her biggest passion. Her dream would be to have her own writing shed. She also loves talking to her friends over coffee, which in her view is a major food group!
Finance & Operations Manager
Keith came on board with Hopeful Futures in July 2022 as our Finance & Operations Manager. Keith supports us by looking after all of the financial aspects of our work and he also provides a lot of our essential administration support.
Keith has extensive experience, working in a number of different jobs – from running the CD and DVD manufacturing division of the company that also runs Spring Harvest to an Essex based creator and manufacturer of children’s books, CD and DVD supplying major high street retailers. Keith has specialised and worked in various management, administration and creative roles. He has been a Christian since he was 16 and has been a youth worker, a house group leader, and an elder.
When not working for Hopeful Futures Keith runs his own music services company advising artists, musicians and songwriters, a digital music aggregation service and also the UK’s oldest surviving independent Christian record label. He also loves listening to and collecting music (preferably on vinyl!) and watching films.
Programme Lead and Safeguarding Officer
Sophia has been working with Hopeful Futures since 2018. As well as working for us, she is an Occupational Therapy student at the University of Brighton.
Sophia has worked on and off since 2012 with East London Textile Arts, working mostly with people with learning disabilities to develop their textile skills. Sophia brings her specialist occupational therapy knowledge, as well as her passion and skill in art work to lead on the programme of support for Jono Orphan based at Little Ilford Baptist Church (please see ‘what we do’ and ‘Jono Orphan’ for more information). Sophia is also our designated Safeguarding Officer (please see our safeguarding section for more information).
To relax Sophia enjoys a good murder mystery on T.V. – the more melodramatic the better!
Community Arts Facilitator
Carys is the daughter of Alison and Simon and first had the vision for Hopeful Futures in 2015. She has worked as a support worker for Hopeful Futures since it launched. She is passionate about seeing people with learning disabilities living purposeful and fulfilling lives.
Carys completed training in ‘Working in Community Arts’ in 2019. She has co-facilitated on a number of community textiles and arts projects with children and adults who have learning disabilities. Two of these projects for people with learning disabilities were health promotion based.
One called ‘tales of teeth’ which was in collaboration with Kent community health NHS trust, exploring ways to look after teeth and gums, this was exhibited in Central London and turned into a book for schools, libraries and community centres. Secondly a project on ‘dissecting diabetes’; an exploration of what it feels like to have diabetes and how to manage symptoms. Carys led on our online art & craft group and has lots of creative ideas for the future that will bring people with and without learning disabilities together through community art. Carys likes cycling & cold water wild swimming in lakes, rivers and the sea. She enjoys reading and listening to podcasts; watch this space as she has an aspiration to create her own podcast!
Sonia is one of the leaders at Little Ilford Baptist Church where Hopeful Futures is based. Her husband, Mike, is the pastor of the Church. Sonia was instrumental in the setting up of Hopeful Futures, and alongside Alison and Simon was one of the first directors.
Sonia is a professional musician and has been teaching and performing for over 30 years. She is the lead textile artist for East London Textile Arts and has been working with local community groups for the past 12 years. Sonia has one daughter, Josie, and three cats! She loves long walks with family and friends, embroidering and gardening.
Mide worked as a support worker at Hopeful Futures from 2018 – 2019. She is passionate about education, young people and seeing people with learning disabilities being given every opportunity to thrive and live a full life.
In addition to working as a support worker, Mide has experience working in the legal sector and the anti-slavery policy sector. She currently works in education policy in the areas of school exclusion and youth justice. She is a Bar Professional Training Course graduate and has recently qualified as a barrister. In her spare time, Mide enjoys writing and performing spoken word poetry and often runs poetry workshops for primary school students.
Simon is a qualified Youth and Community Worker and has worked in a number of London Boroughs as a youth worker. In 1997 he became the manager of a large community centre in the London Borough of Newham which ran numerous youth clubs, adult education and other community based groups.
Whilst there, he identified that there was no service for families who had children with disabilities. He was successful in securing fundraising to start an after school club for children and young people with disabilities and later a series of respite holiday schemes. Simon ran a group for young people who were out of education or employment due to emotional and or mental health / behavioural difficulties.
He successfully mentored these young people to enable them to support children with disabilities at the play scheme, providing opportunities for these young people to develop skills and employment (many of whom went on to become support workers or pursued higher education).
Simon was instrumental in fundraising to start Real Life Parenting (RLP) in 2003 and took the innovative to train parents of children with disabilities so that they were empowered to train others (experts by experience), through this most of the staff team at RLP were parents who had children with disabilities themselves. Simon has a lot of experience of being a supportive employer across a number of settings. Simon set up Hopeful Futures as a Community Interest Company in 2018 through his vast experience in finance and charity management in many of his roles. Si considers football a basic human right. He played until he was 53 and now he has to content himself with shouting at the TV and occasional visits to Newport County matches and Ansfields hallowed ground. He’s also passionate about growing things and has a much loved allotment.
Jeremy worked as a support worker at Hopeful Futures from 2017 – 2018, and also more recently he has developed the Hopeful Futures website. Jeremy has over two decades of experience working in the public sector, particularly charitable organisations within Newham and neighbouring Boroughs. He is currently working as a freelance digital communications specialist. He enjoys hiking, messing around with guitars and generally being a bit of a geek with computers.
I have been working with Hopeful Futures first as a support worker in 2022 and now have added content creation to the mix. I am currently studying Physiotherapy and have been lucky to experience what holistic care should be, in multiple settings. Similarly, volunteering has always been a goal of mine and I have supported clinics and charities in Sri Lanka, India, UAE and now in the UK.
My goal as a professional and a person is to become an advocate and support the stance that care provision should be fair to all who need it.
So, I have recently discovered that I am an ambivert. So, I like doing activities with a group of friends, but I am pretty good at keeping myself entertained. Whatever piques my interest, is where you will find me. For fun, I enjoy a nice calm walk, listening to a good playlist, sipping a hot cup of coffee and either reading or watching a movie.
Project Engagement Worker
Anne has been working with Hopeful Futures since February 2023 as our Project Engagement Worker. Anne helps us to connect with numerous local contacts who may be interested in our projects, letting them know how they can get involved.
Anne’s key experience has been working with people and administration. She has had a number of jobs, starting her career at the Bank of England, then moving on to Nationwide for 20 years where she started as the typist, progressing onto Customer Service Manager, a job she loved. She then moved on to administrator at a local church for a number of years.
In her spare time, Anne enjoys arts and crafts and has a small Etsy Shop. She loves animals (especially dogs), her garden, watching tv series and films, cooking and baking.
We are often recruiting for new support workers to join our team. If you’re interested in joining our team please contact our Programme Lead Sophia Ramsay on email@example.com
We have up to 10 support workers at any one time. We have a number of local, young people and adults who work for our organisation in the role of support workers. This is often their first paid job. They tend to start by volunteering with us and then move into paid work following a period of shadowing, observation and training. We love mentoring and working with our young support workers.
We have seen on multiple occasions how young people are eager to learn whilst being enthusiastic and proactive in their work. Many young people who have worked with us have expressed a positive change in their value base when it comes to their outlook of disability and have successfully gone on to help educate others. A number of our former young support workers who would not ordinarily be involved in this type of work say that their time at Hopeful Futures influenced their choice of career path, which means ongoing societal benefit for people with learning disabilities!
As a service, we are particularly keen to employ autistic adults. These staff are often able to help us interpret the sensory, communicative and social differences of those we support who are autistic with severe learning disabilities. We have a supportive management and supervision structure in place to be able to support our autistic staff members, as well as those who have mental health needs and other disabilities to successfully be in paid employment with us. These staff enrich our team with a lot of expertise, knowledge and experience.
Here is a statement from co-founder Alison Orphan:
“The name Hopeful Futures is intentional. Very often in the UK people with learning disabilities and autism end up with much smaller lives than the general population, with those around them having very low expectations about what they could achieve. I wanted Hopeful Futures to be entirely different.”
“I wanted to create a space where people with learning disabilities and autism could not only thrive and enjoy life but fly; do the things they are put on this earth to do; find purpose, meaning and fulfillment. To not be just an accepted and vaguely tolerated part of the local community but valued because of the unique things they bring which make our community better for everyone.”
“I wanted our organisation to be grounded in realism. I understand only too well, particularly at the moment, the immense struggles that everyone is having just to get by. So, I wanted us to be clear-eyed about the challenges and barriers that lay ahead for people with learning disabilities and autism to have a good life, but with a commitment to find creative and imaginative ways to make that happen anyway”.