Our Chief Officer, Paula Jennings, provides information about the forthcoming holiday closure and phased return of trainees back into social enterprises.

7 July 2020



Hoping you and your families are well at this time as we come out of lockdown.

I write to inform you of the closure of Stepping Stones NI social enterprises for the July 2020 holiday period and to update you on how we plan to bring trainees back to engage in social enterprises.

All social enterprises with the exception of 2nd Avenue Cafe will close on Monday 13 July 2020 and will re-open on Monday 20 July 2020. There will be no support provided from our key workers from 13th July until 27th July and staff will not be available for contact to give everyone a break with their families. .

We have been working hard to rebuild all of our services and social enterprises during the lockdown period keeping up to date with government guidelines.  At this point we are working to find a way to bring our trainees and clients back safely.

We know that this will be a period of phased return meaning that we will have to limit the amount of trainees per day in keeping with social distancing guidelines.  The health and safety of our trainees, staff and customers is paramount and we will be working closely with the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust to ensure that we are doing everything that we can to keep everyone safe as our trainees ease back into Stepping Stones NI services.  At this point with the recent opening of our social enterprises in Lisburn and Ards we are in the process of working out how many people can be facilitated each day to engage in training and support. We will off course be maintaining our levels of virtual training, Zoom calls and telephone calls throughout and will continue to do so in our programme of support as we move forward.

It is envisaged that trainees will start to return to Stepping Stones NI social enterprises on a phased return by September 2020.

I will keep you up to date as we develop our plans.  I thank you for your understanding and support during this challenging period.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me on paula.jennngs@stepping-stones.org.uk

In the meantime enjoy your summer break and please let our trainees know that we miss them all so much.




Paula Jennings
Chief Officer