The Next Step in operation

The Next Step online during Covid-19:

The Next Step is adopting to the current lock down with a number of ventures:
  • Video tutorials for woodcraft on YouTube
  • Zoom meetings for Book Club on Zoom
  • Art tutorials via Instagram
  • Ops group meetings on Zoom
  • More intensive use of FaceBook
  • Members' kitchen table coffee meetings on Zoom
  • Continuing the members' support chat line
The idea is to do as much as we can with and for members during this challenging time. We will continue to look at what we can do.

The Next Step launches a Chat Line to support members during the COVID-19 pandemic

While our activities at the Unitarian Church center are suspended, we offer our members the opportunity to phone one of our volunteers for a general chat so we can remain connected through this tough time. A phone call to 085 716 1960 will be answered by one of our volunteers, as per the following rota:

The Next Step a part of Cork Mental Health Foundation

We are pleased to announce that the Next Step is now part of Cork Mental Health Foundation (CMHF) since 1st January 2020. This gives us the backing and governance support of a larger organisation while at the same time CMHF have agreed to respect our autonomy of operation within the group. 

The Next Step and CMHF have drawn up and signed a Memorandum of Understanding, setting out the broad principles of autonomy which will apply. In essence, we will continue with our programme, continue day to day running of The Next Step with our independent operations committee, continue consulting with members and continue with our ethos, which is that:

  • minimal information is requested on enrolment with The Next Step
  • the member is in charge of their own participation, subject only to such rules as are necessary to ensure the respect of others and the avoidance of stigma or discrimination
  • the member decides when to attend, comes when they feel able, stays coming for as long as they see themselves benefiting and is free to leave for a time and rejoin later 
  • no member is required to discuss particulars of their condition 
  • members are not diagnosed, counselled or treated 
It has been our experience over the years that attending The Next Step, partaking in creative and engaging activities and making friendships all lead to growing self-confidence and self esteem among members. We want this to continue.

We look forward to our new partnership with Cork Mental Health Foundation.

Launch of SpeakYourMind

The Magazine SpeakYourMind is run by an editorial board independent of but with connections to The Next Step. After a period when no issues were produced, two members of The Next Step offered to work on producing and editing a new issue, which was launched in the Unitarian Church on Wednesday 18th of September 2019, by well known Cork City Councillor and local historian Kieran McCarthy. Proceedings were opened and speakers introduced by Tony Francis who heads up SpeakYourMind.

Tony opens proceedings

Key speaker Kieran McCarthy

Editor Billy Wolohan

 Aine Sweeney

Ger Long

Audrey Mulcahy

SpeakYourMind magazine

Creative Minds

At the same time as the launch of SpeakYourMind, The Next Step opened Creative Minds - an exhibition of members' art.

Participant Involvement...

The Next Step sees as important the involvement of participants in the running of the organisation. We now have participants involved at all levels - on the committee, facilitating activities and as day volunteers ensuring the smooth running of The Next Step. We will continue to encourage and promote this. We feel that the involvement of participants is good for participants and good for The Next Step.

Governance ...

As part of Cork Mental Health Foundation, The Next Step will now come under their governance procedures. The Board of Trustees on The Next Step resign on 1st January 2020 and from that time the Trustees of Cork Mental Health Foundation will have responsibility for The Next Step.

The Next Step will cease to be independently registered under the Charities Regulator and instead will come under the Charities Registration Number of Cork Mental Health Foundation 20066260, CHY 17675


We rely on our volunteers to manage our day to day activities. We are proud of the fact that many of our volunteers are members, an indication of their growth in self-confidence and self-esteem through their participation in The Next Step. We appreciate their invaluable contribution.


We are ever grateful to our sponsors without whom we would be unable to deliver this level of service.

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DONATIONS: To make a donation to The Next Step, click here

The Next Step is supported by:

HSE South
ESB Electricity for Generations
Private donations 
Participant contributions