Our trainee, Jamesy O’Neill, did us proud when he was invited to bake for Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Kris Hopkins, at Stormont House recently.

Jamesy was invited to showcase his baking skills after Minister Hopkins visited us a few months ago to see the impact of their work. He was so impressed with Jamesy that he invited him to visit and bake his special scone recipe at the Stormont House kitchen followed by tea and a catch up with the Minister afterwards.

Northern Ireland Office Chef Martin Nelson was really impressed with Jamesy’s baking and said: “Jamesy’s scones were even better than mine”.

Minister Hopkins sampled Jamesy’s baking over tea with Jamesy and said: “On a recent visit to Stepping Stones, I met Jamesy O’Neill who is a trainee barista at their site in Lisburn and invited him to come to Stormont House and spend the morning working with our chef, Martin Nelson, making scones. The scones were absolutely delicious and I was extremely impressed with Jamesy’s skills and the work that Stepping Stones does to support people with learning disabilities and learning difficulties”.

Jamesy has been supported by Stepping Stones NI to develop new skills in catering and hospitality and to get a paid job. He says “Stepping Stones NI has helped me loads and they have given me more strength as well as helping me get a job”.

The organisation is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Each year we support around 250 people though our services with links to over 400 employers. We support our clients to gain training, work placements and paid jobs.

Our Chief Officer Paula Jennings said: “Stepping Stones NI’s support extends beyond training and employment; we see confidence and self-esteem growing, new friendships forming and a new independence for the people that we support. The impact of this is then felt by families and employers who see the real benefit of employing a person with a learning disability or learning difficulty”.

To find out more training and employment services at Stepping stones NI contact Claire Humphreys, Employment Services Coordinator on 028 9266 6404 or claire.humphreys@stepping-stones.org.uk