Meet the Team

Elissa Newman – Chief Officer

Leeds is my home city – and I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to support local communities in my role at Holbeck Together.

A serendipitous moment brought me to Holbeck Together to support the team for ten days and I ended up staying for ten years. Prior to this, I had a lengthy career in business.

When I arrived, we were Holbeck Elderly Aid, a Neighbourhood Network Scheme that supported older members of the community.

In those ten years, the charity has expanded the provision of services to reach out to the whole community. We subsequently rebranded to become Holbeck Together, a community anchor for everyone in Holbeck. 

It has been a privilege to be part of the team. I’ve had so many moments of which I’m incredibly proud. In particular, the way our staff and volunteers continued to go above and beyond during Covid, making sure people in Holbeck were looked after and providing over 13,000 meals to our community.

In my free time, I love spending time with my family and friends, taking walks with my dog and gardening.

Claire Holmes – Operations and Service Officer

I am the Operations and Service Officer at Holbeck Together and have been with the organisation since 2011.

I have studied Health and Social Care 2 and 3, along with Leadership and Management Level 5. My role involves providing support and advice to people who are isolated and the wider community, enabling them to meet their physical health, mental health and cultural needs in order to live a healthy, fulfilling life. I support people with a huge range of things, from benefits to housing, education or job skills, as well as signposting them to other services.

I spend a lot of my time conducting home visits to see people who have been referred to Holbeck Together. I also manage the staff team and other operations in the office. When I am not working,  my two children, who are 17 and 12, keep me busy! 

Matthew Springthorpe – Service Development Officer

I have been with Holbeck Together since 2015. Over this time period, my role and the services that we provide have seen a variety of developments. Through consulting with our clients and the continued support of funding organisations, we are able to provide a programme of exciting, sustainable, quality services that meet the needs of the ever-changing community that we work in.

Another aspect of my role includes supporting of our growing team of volunteers in their roles which spread across all areas of the service including transport, activities, catering and administration.

Similarly to our working with our core volunteer team I am also responsible for the development of our partnerships with organisations that provide corporate volunteers.

Roy Minter – Community Wellbeing and Transport Co-ordinator

I joined the organisation in 2011 as a volunteer driver. We only had a small white Sherpa in those days, it was a bit of a shed really! I joined the staff team in 2015 as Community Transport Driver as part of the expansion of the transport department.

We’ve got two big yellow buses now and do twice-weekly shopping trips to Hunslet Morrisons, transport for Holbeck Together’s growing activity schedule and monthly out-of-hours shopping trips. I collect people from home, supporting them from their door and helping them to lock up, and get safely onto the bus; I give people a hand at the shops, supporting them to retain independence and get all the bits they need; making sure everyone who wants to can grab a cup of tea and cake and have a natter; before helping them safely back home with all of their bags. I love being able to get people settled with all of their stuff in the kitchen, before heading back off again.

I like to treat people as I’d want my mother to be treated and you a have laugh and a joke with people. It’s really social and you get to know everyone’s quirks and the kind of help people are looking for.

I’m a jack of all trades and I’ve done everything from damp-proofing to waitering, from being a porter to laying telephone cables. I’ve even managed a café before.

I like fishing in my free time and am a die-hard Hull Kingston Rovers Rugby Fan. On my free weekends, I like to go to the rugby with my family and I even enjoy a bit of baking

Sean – Digital Inclusion Officer

I was a personal trainer for over 15 years and decided on a change of career in 2018. I have always had an interest in IT, digital skills and technology so decided to make that my focus.

My role here at Holbeck Together’s Digital Health Hub is to support people with getting online, and getting the most out of their devices, whether that is a phone, a laptop or tablet and finding out which services might benefit them.

You can come and chat to me about anything to do with your device, how it works, using the internet or any other questions you might have.

From Facebook, Twitter, eBay and online shopping come to St Matthew’s Community on Tuesdays or Thursdays and have a friendly informal chat with me and peek into the digital world!

Nikki Hayes – Community Engagement Worker 

After volunteering with the organisation for many years, I have joined Holbeck Together as a Community Engagement Worker. I initially began helping Roy on the minibus, and have gone on to support the Healthy Holidays project, coming up with ideas and linking in with local families.

Volunteering helped me to build my confidence and Holbeck Together have kindly supported me to further my education and develop the skills that I have learned. I am undertaking an apprenticeship in Adult Care Level 2 at Leeds City College alongside the role of Community Engagement Worker. 

My role involves supporting and linking in with all of our clients including working with children and families to coordinate the Healthy Holidays activities. I am also mapping our client base, meeting our older clients and re-introducing the community to Holbeck Together. I juggle my role with being a busy mum of three. I am grateful for this new opportunity and look forward to continuing to support our clients in the best way I can.

Laura Walton – Volunteer Co-ordinator

I’m Laura Walton and joined Holbeck Together as the Volunteer Co-ordinator in 2022. 

I began by volunteering on a Thursday in the Social Supermarket and I really enjoyed being a part of the team. I now help and support our volunteers and work with them to contribute to the delivery of the services we provide. The volunteers are such a big part of Holbeck Together and give up their free time to help others, it’s been great working with them.

I have lived and worked in Holbeck for around 23 years. I have a background in support work, I was a Teaching Assistant for 11 years and then moved on to running a local community shop. The community shop enabled me to offer support and help to local people and also work with community groups in the area. I really enjoyed meeting people and building relationships with them. I have also worked as a foster carer which was a really rewarding experience.

I have been a part of lots of different community groups and events and am passionate about helping the local area and people. I have three dogs that I enjoy taking for walks and taking care of. I love living and working in Holbeck and am excited to see what this new chapter will bring.

Nicole Peterson- Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer

Hi, my name is Nicole and I am the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion worker at Holbeck together.

My role involves developing the charity so that it includes and equally serves all the members of the local vibrant and diverse community in Holbeck . I will be working and engaging with marginalised members of the community to ensure that their voices are amplified and heard by the key policy and decision makers, impacting the lives of those in Holbeck. It is my role to listen to the needs, concerns, hopes, and aspirations of those that engage with our service as well as those that live in the local community. The main aspect of the role is to ensure that the equity, diversity and inclusion is embedded within the organisation, shaping a culture that reflects our core principles. Empowering people to make Holbeck one of the best places to thrive, work and play.

Sebastian Evans- Being You Leeds

Hi, my name is Sebastian. I live in the Holbeck area of Leeds after moving from Burnley. I am the new Community Development Worker for Holbeck Together in partnership with Being You Leeds. Being You Leeds provides groups, activities, training and awareness sessions for community wellbeing across Leeds. My new role in Holbeck will involve helping to set up new groups in the LS11 area and supporting people to build partnerships to help the groups thrive. You may be interested in setting up a group to support your wellbeing, or perhaps you have identified a need for a support group for families who have children with special needs? I’m interested in talking to anyone who has ideas and supporting you to make it happen.

Leanne Elliott- Community Development Worker

Hi, my name is Leanne. I work part time as a Community Development Worker and when I’m not at work I’m a busy Mum to three lovely little ones. I have over 15 years’ experience working in the third sector for local and national charities, and understand the importance of bringing communities together to create positive change. You can find me delivering our weekly Parents & Tots Together group, 5 week Baby Massage courses and other Wellbeing groups and events.

I am employed as part of the Better Together Service which offers community-based health and wellbeing activities. In consultation with local people the service offers positive wellbeing activities, groups for fun and friendship, cultural activities and family fun events.

Sue Bowden- Community Engagement Worker

Hello, I started working with communities across Leeds in 1996 as a newly qualified teacher and artist. I wanted to make learning and being involved in arts projects easy to do and so set up classes in community centres, day centres and in schools so local people could take part. This is something which is very close to my heart!  

Since 1996, I have used arts and crafts to engage with groups of people of all ages and backgrounds in Middleton, Belle Isle, Cottingley as well as in Hyde Park, Headingley, Burley, Gipton, Chapeltown and Swarcliffe. I will be out and about in the community and able to visit you at home to provide advice on benefits, housing, fuel and food support. I will also be creating a programme of social activities, incorporating health and wellbeing information and advice, alongside intensive individual encouragement and support to engage with the Holbeck Together services and other organisations. 

Supporters of Holbeck Together