Meet The Team

The Future Steps Team is made up of individuals who are dedicated to bettering the lives of children and young people. Each valued member of the team brings a new and unique asset to our dynamic and forward-thinking organisation.

Julie Davis BHSc COT
Managing Director
I have worked in health and the private sector for over 24 years. Initially in the NHS where I established an Occupational Therapy service for children. I then co-owned a private occupational service within Newton Aycliffe until early 2014. I now am the sole owner of Future Steps Consultancy. I have recently completed Level 2 Intensive Mentorship: Hands-On Advanced Treatment’ at the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder. My company is exceptionally rewarding and allows me to develop pathways, work with various agencies in the field of paediatrics; work in Special and mainstream schools. I treat children and develop new programmes and models of service. My philosophy is to work together with professionals, educators and families, creating a service that responds to the individualised needs of the child and organisation, effectively making a difference to every child’s life.
John Davis
Finance and Business Support Manager
Lynn Mitchell BA (Hons) BSc (Hons)
Occupational Therapist & Therapy Lead
My first degree, BA (Hons) in Exercise and Health Studies from Waterford Institute of Technology gave me a strong foundation for my Bsc (Hons) Occupational Therapy degree, from which I graduated from Northumbria University in 2013. I began my career in a private practice and secured my position at Future Steps in July of 2014. I am extremely excited to be part of an organisation that links so closely with education and am passionate about working with other professionals, with the child being the centre focus. I am constantly developing in my role and look forward to a diverse and fulfilling future at Future Steps.
Ruth Davies
Occupational Therapist
Whilst studying for my initial degree in psychology I worked part time as a support worker. This is where I discovered my passion for working with children and adults with additional needs. I then went on to work in an independent living setting supporting adults with autism, it is here that I discovered occupational therapy and the amazing impact it has on people’s lives. I applied for the Masters at Northumbria University where I studied for 2 years. Whilst studying I worked as a teaching assistant in a number of special educational needs schools and supported a young girl with cerebral palsy. I completed my course in March 2016 and was successfully chosen to be part of the Future Steps Consultancy team. I am overjoyed to be part of such a special services that really makes the difference in the lives of many children and their families. I look forward to developing in this role and working closely with the local schools and children that attend Future Steps.
Kate Smurthwaite
Occupational Therapist
During my career I have held various administration support roles for local government children’s and adults services. Whilst working in these roles I discovered my passion for the profession of Occupational Therapy. In 2013, I commenced the undergraduate degree course in Occupational Therapy at Teesside University. During my time studying I developed a particular interest in the area of paediatric practice. In April 2016, I secured my first occupational therapy role with Future Steps consultancy team. I am excited to be part of such an innovative Occupational Therapy service that makes a positive difference in children’s lives. I look forward to developing my professional skills in this specialist area of practice.
Heather Merson
Occupational Therapy Assistant
I spent the three years gaining valuable experience as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, working for the NHS in Adult Services. Wanting to further my knowledge and skillset I then studied at Darlington College, for a level 3 diploma in Health and Social Care. I have recently completed the course achieving distinctions overall. Having joined Future Steps as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in April 2016, I now look forward to developing my skills further, by being part of such a forward thinking organisation, which is so passionate about children’s development though therapy.
Emma Davies
Occupational Therapist
Kate Smith
Occupational Therapist
Since completing my degree, BSc Forensic Psychology I have developed great enthusiasm to work with individuals with complex needs following employment in EBD and ASD schools. During this time I completed PGcert Speech and Language Difficulties but then developed knowledge and passion for the Occupational Therapy profession. Since completing MSc OT in Jan 2011 I have worked with adults with Learning Disabilities and comorbid mental health conditions as well as children with severe and complex needs this included leading a Behavioural Intervention Team. I have a range of clinical experience regarding assessment and treatment within a special school environment using approaches such as Sensory Integration, Intensive Interaction and Positive Behaviour Support. I joined Future Steps in September 2016 and look forward to further developing my role as well as making a positive impact on the children’s and their families lives
Lucy Douglas BA (Hons)
Development Lead & Executive Assistant
As Development Lead and Executive Assistant to Managing Director, my role is to work under the guidance of Julie Davis to ensure that Future Steps is the most effective, caring, and professional occupational therapy organisation in the North East. In my time here at Future Steps I have seen our organisation change the lives of so many children and their families and there is no better feeling in the world than being part of that.
Ginny Gannaway BMedSci
Junior Devlopment and Processing Adminstrator Ginny
I love being a part of each child’s and their families journey and seeing them progress. I am a big part of the Future Steps process for each client from the very beginning to the end, and I am always available to help and will endeavour to do so as quickly and efficiently as I can. I enjoy making everyone feel welcome, valued and as special as they are here at Future Steps.
Heather Hill
Occupational Therapist
I completed a degree in Physical Education and Youth Sport in 2012, where I had the opportunity to deliver multi-sport sessions and organise inter-school competitions for primary school children. It was whilst studying an inclusive sport module that I discovered my passion for working with children with special educational needs and disabilities. After graduating, I worked as a specialist teaching assistant and was then accepted on the Occupational Therapy course at Teesside Uni. I qualified in May 2017, and this is my first role as an occupational therapist which I am thoroughly enjoying! I am very excited to be part of such a specialist service and hope to make a positive difference to the lives of the children and families who come to Future Steps.
James Ffitch
Occupational Therapist
My first experience of occupational therapy was when I gained a position in an adult forensic learning disabilities service as an occupational therapy assistant and I soon discovered my passion for the profession. I completed a night access course at Middlesbrough college whilst working full time as an OTA to be able to access the undergraduate occupational therapy course at Teesside University. I continued to work within this service as a health care assistant throughout my training. Through the course of my degree I considered several areas of practice I would like to pursue. In my final year I was lucky enough to have a paediatric placement and that sparked an interest in this particular area of practice. I feel lucky to join Future Steps at a very exciting time and I am grateful to be in a privileged position to be able to play a part in giving children the tools and skills they need to be able to achieve their full potential.
Eleanor Harker
Occupational Therapist
Emily Foster
Occupational Therapist
Abbie Tully
Marketing & Administration Assistant
Claire Mangle
Occupational Therapy Assistant