Stepping Stones NI, have secured the lease of the historic Navigation House to expand their portfolio of activity for the benefit of people with learning disabilities.

A new programme of activity focusing on horticultural skills development at the renovated Navigation House, Hillsborough Road, Lisburn.  The project will create new employment and training opportunities with a new horticultural social enterprise and health and wellbeing activities planned.

Stepping Stones NI’s Chief Officer, Paula Jennings, comments on the new initiative “we are delighted to secure the lease for Navigation House and to bring a new opportunities for people with learning disabilities to enhance their skills, talents and overall mental health and wellbeing.  This is a very exciting venture working in partnership with The Waterways Community and the Lagan Navigation Trust on such a historic site that will open up the waterways network and surrounding environment for the community to enjoy and benefit from”.

The project has been made possible through funding from the Platinum Jubilee Fund through The National Lottery Community Fund and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council “The Mayors Innovation Fund : Social Enterprise Award” supporting the ‘Seed, Grow, Eat’ horticultural programme.  To celebrate the Platinum Jubilee Stepping Stones NI trainees have eagerly engaged in planting to grow food for their social enterprise cafes and flowers to enhance outside café areas.  Trainees have also enjoyed planting at home with seeds provided from the fund.  Trainee Ellen comments “I have really enjoyed planting.  It has been great to get my hands in the soil and to learn about how seeds grow into flowers.  I can’t wait for them to bloom and see them in my garden”.

A garden party for trainees, parents and community members is planned for the summer to showcase the full offering at Navigation House.  Work is underway to recruit for project staff to develop and manage the programme.

All programme related enquiries should be directed to Paula Jennings, Chief Officer at