About Appletree Support Ltd

Our Story

In 2007 Appletree was established by Jo Stephens, a registered social worker for disabled children and young people and Kellie Allen a registered nurse.

Having both worked in the public and private sector they believed they could offer a service with a difference taking into account the diverse needs of families caring for disabled children and young people.

The aim to provide a bespoke service which offered compassion and reassurance and at the same time offering the absolute highest quality care and support that they have the right to receive.

With a rigorous recruitment process and fine selection of our candidates, high quality training, support and detailed care planning, eight years on we have a very passionate and motivated workforce and some fantastic children and young people whom we are proud to be working with.

Our Management Team

Our management team has been carefully put together in order that the skills and experience of the team complement each other in order for us to provide a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to the children and young people who use our service .

Jo Stephens (BA Hons, DipSW)

Jo_WROur Director, who holds a degree in Social and Professional Studies relating to Learning Disability, has 20 years’ experience in the field of Children and Young people with Disabilities in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors and is a Social Worker registered with the HCPC.   She has worked as a Social Worker for Children with Disabilities for Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council, where she gained an understanding of the need for excellent support services.



Shirley Cosshall (RN, RM, NICU-RN)
Healthcare Manager

Shirley is our Healthcare Manager, she works full time in our offices and is always available to both our staff and families we support. Shirley has 21 years experience in the field of children with  complex health needs.




Lou Adams (BSC hons, MSci)
Peadiatric Nurse Trainer

louOur Paediatric Nurse holds an MSci, is a member of the NMC, RCN and is registered as a Registered Sick Children’s Nurse . She keeps up to date with all relevant health care procedures for children with complex health care needs through her hospital practice. Her experience is evidenced through the delivery of rigorous complex health care training to our staff, adhering to current NICE guidelines, which includes practice in Epilepsy and Buccal Midazolam administration, Oxygen and Suction and Gastrostomy care, Infection control, Medication and Respectful Personal care.



Kellie Allen (RN)
Registered Nurse Assessor and Supervisor

KellieKellie one of the founders of Appletree, has 10 years experience in supporting children with very complex health care needs, her background NICU and Theatres as a theatre practitioner, she has worked across both St Mary’s and QA hospital. Kellie plays a large role in the development of the competency assessments of our PA’s and care staff in the community. She has expertise in writing bespoke care plan for children with health related needs and she provides excellent support and advice for families going through continuing care assessments.



Eleanor Major (BA HONS)
Team Leader

Eleanor has years of care and support experience as well as experience of systems, software and the co-ordination of people.

Eleanor believes that beginning everything with an enthusiasm to embrace, learn and try something new has always proven to her that hard work and dedication is it’s own reward.

She has a wonderful creative nature and holds a degree in Illustration. She is persistent in her endeavours, creating skilful and inspired strategies. Working quickly and efficiently without compromising on quality.

Eleanor works full time Monday to Friday and is looking forward to taking your call.


Sue Stephens(B Ed, NPQH)
Independent Autism Trainer, and Behavioural Assessor

DSC07820 SUE_WRSue Stephens has been a stakeholder of Appletree for 8 years. She is also a special education consultant and delivers Autism Education Trust training in schools on behalf of The National Autistic Society. Sue retired as headteacher of Freemantles School, one of the largest local authority provisions for pupils with autism, in 2010, after a thirty-eight year teaching career which spanned mainstream primary, mainstream secondary and special education settings. From 1988 onwards, Sue worked with pupils with autism who had complex and challenging behaviours, first in the classroom and then in a management roles culminating in headship. In addition to the 4-to-19 specialist provision at Freemantles, she was responsible for an outreach team providing support, training and consultancy to mainstream schools. Sue is passionate about inclusion, both in schools and in the wider community, and that it should be appropriate and well managed. Her experience is evidenced within Appletree by the provision of engaging and challenging training in Autism and Challenging Behaviours which is designed to secure the best possible outcomes for service users in terms of their communication and behaviour management needs, as well as support given to families and support workers when specific behavioural issues arise.


Zoe Standing (AAT computerised accounting)
Business Manager

Zoe has come from a background in finance, accounting and customer service. She works on the finance side with our personal budget and direct payment customers.  She’s also involved with business development and liaises with our commissioners at the local authorities. She is very approachable and always happy to answer questions. Zoe works in the team every Monday and Thursday.



Our PA and Care Team

Our team of support workers come from a variety of backgrounds, with skills and experience in both complex health and behavioural support. The undertake a full training programme and go through all necessary recruitment checks including a full DBS disclosure and satisfactory reference checking before they begin to work.

Example of a PA Profile

A snippet from our last CQC inspection:

We spoke with two people who used the service and four close relatives. They were all complimentary about the competence and suitability of the support workers. One person said they got on well with their support workers because they were “happy, jolly and sporty like me”. Another person’s relative said the support workers were “very efficient, very clued up and aware of the needs.” There was an effective recruitment process in place to ensure care workers were able to deliver the care and support required.

The Appletree Philosophy

We recognises that children and young people with disabilities need reliable and consistent care and support in order for them to live as independently as possible and thus structure all our services around individual needs. We believe that every child and their family have a right to a reliable and consistent support service that provides trained and experienced staff whom they are able to build positive relationships with. Every child has a right to a secure and happy childhood and should have equal opportunities to develop through learning and play. We believe every young person has a right to independence and choice. We strive to support young people to achieve their goals and aspirations. We treat all people with dignity and respect in a non-discriminatory, non-judgemental fashion.
We provide care and support to children and young people from the age of 0 months to 25 years of age. Through our short breaks, PA service and complex health care provision, we provide support for children and young people:- with a physical disability with a learning disability with challenging behaviour on the Autistic Spectrum with a sensory impairment with complex medical needs with a terminal illness

Appletree Support’s Promise

Promoting Independence and Choice we pride ourselves on offering care and support to disabled children and young people from dedicated and highly motivated PA and Care Team.

“The Buddy scheme has been excellent for my son, offering a person he could talk to, joke with and have as a friend when friendship is not something he usually has”

Mr J Portsmouth