STEPHEN Watkins, Project and Technical Coordinator at RSK company Ecologia, and from Zeal Monachorum, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in August 2021 following a long and unexplained illness. 

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition, which means that it causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time.

Around 145,000 people live with Parkinson’s in the UK, and it’s the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.

The three “cardinal” motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are muscle stiffness, a decrease in spontaneous and voluntary movement and resting tremor. 

Owing to the Covid crisis, the process for receiving a diagnosis wasn’t easy.Steve says: “After finally receiving my diagnosis, my life changed forever. I had convinced myself that somehow, I would ride this out, but I now know that I have to learn to accept and live with a degenerative, progressive, incurable neurological disease.”


While going through the process of diagnosis, Steve was furloughed so that he could focus on his condition and his family. This evolved into a supported phased return programme to enable him to return to work fully while taking into consideration his new needs, as well as assessing the adjustments that would need to be put in place. 

“Ecologia and RSK have been immensely supportive of me and my family throughout this very difficult time,” says Steve. “My role has been adapted to enable me to continue supporting project delivery, colleagues are in daily contact with me when I am not in the office, which makes me feel less isolated, and the work I am currently doing continues to make me feel valued.” 

Reasonable adjustments have included an adaptation of his job role, removing the pressure of site attendance and enabling Steve to work from home and office. He now also has a rising desk so that he doesn’t remain in a seated position for too long, which can impact his condition, and amended lighting has been provided so that he can dim bright lights as required to avoid eye strain. 

Access to work grants have also been successful, and Steve was referred to occupational health to ensure RSK is supporting him as much as possible. 

Steve stresses that the help his directors have given him during this life-changing transition period has been invaluable – with their support, he has just been given a promotion.


Steve’s colleagues will be taking their support to new heights on September 2 as a team of staff from across Ecologia take part in a tandem skydive to raise money for Parkinson’s UK. 

The tandem team includes Thomas Marker, Elisha Salter, Andy Kemp, Chris Williams, Giacomo Maini and Mike Lenn, colleagues who have stood by Steve and helped him through this difficult journey. Steve will also be on-hand to provide ground support! 

RSK CEO Alan Ryder has personally donated £100, and RSK will contribute £500 to support the fundraising efforts. 

Good luck everyone! If you would like to donate, you can do so through Steve’s JustGiving page.


Following recent communications and after hearing about the skydive, several people have approached Steve seeking advice and guidance for their own diagnoses, as well as those of family members. 

As a result, Steve will be hosting an open webinar session about Parkinson’s with a guest speaker from Parkinson’s UK tomorrow, Saturday, August 5, from 10am.

This is to enable people to join with their family members. The session is open to everyone and will also be recorded and made available on RSK Connect as a video and podcast in case you can’t join! 

If you wish to attend, please email Steve at: [email protected] .