People: Switalskis; Wellspring Therapy and Training; and more

Switalskis has strengthened its family law team with the appointment of a new solicitor and paralegal to its Wakefield and Huddersfield offices.

This will allow the team to meet growing demand across West Yorkshire.

After qualifying as a family solicitor in 2023, Sumaiyah Mohammad has now joined Switalskis Wakefield team.

She brings with her a wealth of experience after working as a family law paralegal for four years.

Prior to that she graduated with a Masters of Law from the University of Manchester in 2018. She will represent clients in family law matters both in and out of court. 

Mohammad said: “I’ve been in family law for four years and have always found it incredibly rewarding. I’m looking forward to this next stage of my career.”

Taylor McDonald joins Switalskis Huddersfield team as a family paralegal, providing valuable support and assistance to its family solicitors.

She achieved a Masters of Law (exempting) from Northumbria University in 2023 and brings with her two years of paralegal experience.

McDonald said: “I am really excited to be part of the family team and learning a new area of law. This is a great opportunity for me to expand my skills.”

Clare Peckett, Switalskis director and head of family law in West Yorkshire, added: “We have made these appointments in West Yorkshire so we can continue to meet the needs of our clients.

“Both Sumaiyah and Taylor bring enthusiasm and a desire to make their careers in the world of family law. We’re looking forward to seeing them make their mark on the industry.”


Wellspring Therapy and Training, a Harrogate-based counselling and training centre, has appointed an interim chief executive officer.

Nick Garrett will take the place of Emily Fullarton, the charity’s executive director, who started her maternity leave this week.

Wellspring, which was founded in 2003 and is based at St Andrew’s Vicarage in Starbeck, provides affordable short and long-term private counselling for the Harrogate and district community.

Fullarton said: “Nick’s experience and expertise are just what Wellspring needs – and I know he will be a real asset to Wellspring in my absence.

“There is no doubt that the pandemic, followed by a severe cost-of-living crisis, has had a detrimental effect on the mental health of both children and adults across all sections of society.

“As a result, the demand for our services in the Harrogate area is growing fast. I know Nick will take the challenges this presents in his stride.”

Garrett, who lives in Knaresborough and is a Pioneer Pastor at Gracious Street Methodist Church in the town, said: “Every week our volunteers and staff work alongside people to transform their lives so it’s such a privilege to join the team.

“I’m looking forward to developing our relationship with the NHS, supporting our fantastic team and sustaining our funding.

“It is becoming increasingly important and necessary to provide affordable private mental health care, both because of the long waiting lists on the NHS and the cost of most private therapy and counselling.

“We aim to restore hope, develop resilience and facilitate positive change in people’s lives. We are passionate about enabling people to find healing and seeing them move towards emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing.”

Garrett, who was educated at Ripon Grammar School and the University of Wales, has had a varied career, working in financial services, manufacturing, in local government at Leeds City Council and North Yorkshire County Council, where he specialised in technology and transformation before a career in consultancy.

He is also the co-founder of Knaresborough Connectors.


Ken Erskine has been promoted to the role of CEO of Harrogate-based consultancy Big Bamboo BIDS, having helped build up the business over the last six months in his initial role as managing director.

Since joining the Big Bamboo team last September, he has developed the BIDS operation, ensuring its steady growth.

Erskine, who holds a bid and proposals certification at ‘Professional’ standard from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), takes on the full running of the business, as well as continuing his delivery role to key clients.

He has over 36 years’ experience in the field and is passionate about winning profitable business for clients, with over £30bn in awards secured during his career, many of which included complex stakeholder management.

Big Bamboo BIDS was incorporated in May 2022, since then it has won and retained work with clients in the Construction, Engineering, soft and hard FM and infrastructure sectors.

Erskine said: “I feel privileged to take on this role as we continue to grow Big Bamboo BIDS into one of the leading consultancies in its field.

“We have achieved a great deal in the six months that I have been here as managing director, working alongside Racheal Gregory and Jamie O’Neill.”

Big Bamboo founding director, Nicola Stamford, said: “Ken joined the business in September and has since made a huge difference to what was essentially a start-up business, with only one year of trading behind it.

“It’s an exciting time, with a clear plan for growth over the next few years – which has been made possible by Ken’s insight and experience.”

Erskine’s career spans back to 1987, with roles at John Mowlem & Company and John Sisk & Son – before in 1994 he joined Balfour Beatty in numerous work winning roles, most latterly as national bid director responsible for leading and winning strategic bids, including a PCSA for an £800m mixed use development, a £250m confidential high security defence opportunity and a £4bn single source national public sector framework.

His most recent role, before joining Big Bamboo, saw him take up the head of bids & proposals role at Careys.

He has also held a 10-year voluntary Board position on the APMP UK, including two tenures as CEO and a two-year position on the APMP International Board, helping inform and champion industry best practice.