Back in 1996 a group of driven and passionate parents, carers and business people worked with the health trust to establish Stepping Stones NI. The aim was to provide meaningful training to people with a learning disability so that they had greater opportunities for employment.
We have come a long way since then with four services and five social enterprises which include three cafes, a bespoke wedding stationery business and a guild commended picture framing business. Each business serves as a realistic training platform for our trainees with 100% of our customers money reinvested to support our work.
Our work now extends beyond Lisburn, covering the south eastern region of Northern Ireland.
We support people who face all kinds of barriers to employment including learning difficulties, Autism, ADHD and Dyslexia and Mental Health issues.
Our services are designed to meet the needs of clients at different stages of their journey. We support young people to make their move from school into further education, training and employment through our Transitions Service. Our Youth Service helps young people 16-24 to develop their social skills, gain training and work experience while our Training + Employment Service supports people of all ages to gain qualifications and find employment.
We have links with lots of employers and see the real and lasting benefit of our trainees achieving new skills, work placements and paid jobs.
We know that we with the right support people who experience barriers to learning and employment can get a job that they enjoy and stay in that job.
Our work could not be achieved without the support of our funders. We are grateful for the support from all our funders including the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust supporting placements for people with learning disabilities in our social enterprises. Our Stepping Stones to Employment 2 project is part financed by the European Social Fund 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy as well as match funding from Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Ards and North Down Borough Council, Armagh, Craigavon and Banbridge Borough Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
A socially enriched world where every individual can take proud steps towards a life fulfilled.
To nurture the potential of people with a disability to thrive in a socially inclusive society.