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Stepping Stones NI Highly Commended at the 2015 Social Enterprise NI Awards

SENI High Commendation 2015

We are delighted to have secured two High Commendations at the 2015 Social Enterprise NI Awards.  We secured High Commendations in the following categories:

  • Social Enterprise of the Year
  • Best Health & Social Care Social Enterprise


Chief Officer of Stepping Stones NI, Paula Jennings, comments on the awards “We are delighted to have secured high commendations for Social Enterprise of the Year and Best Health & Social Care Social Enterprise for 2015. We have a fantastic team of people who are passionate about ensuring our trainees reach their fullest potential and these awards are testament to their effort”.

Commenting on the annual Social Enterprise awards and Stepping Stones NI success, Director of Social Enterprise NI, Juliet Cornford, said “The judges were hugely impressed with the impact, reputation and positive feedback of Stepping Stones NI. They have a great track record and are expanding services in a tough economic climate. The Stepping Stones NI model has proven over the years as extremely effective at supporting people into employment. The quality of applications was outstanding this year and to achieve a highly commended in the categories for Social Enterprise of the Year and Best Health & Social Care Awards is no small achievement”.




Celebrating a Year of Achievements

Some of the award recipients

Thursday 30th January meant only one thing for everyone here at Stepping Stones NI, time to celebrate!
Along with our service users and supporters we gathered to celebrate a year of remarkable successes on Thursday 30th January 2014 at the Island Centre Lisburn.

The event, hosted by local TV and Radio presenter John Daly saw over 100 awards be presented to people for achievements in training and employment.  Those accepting awards were joined by friends and family, local employers and councillors and Mayor of Lisburn, Margaret Tollerton.  Representatives from the local Health Trust and the Department for Employment and Learning were also in attendance.

Speaking at the event trainee Katrine Paberzo told the packed auditorium:

“I love coming to Stepping Stones, I learn new things all the time and I have fun.  I want to keep learning and getting better and I want Stepping Stones to help me.”

Former Mayor Alderman William Leathem was presented with a surprise award of Fundraising Champion for his efforts for Stepping Stones while they were his Mayoral Charity. He commented:

“Stepping Stones does such valuable work in the local community and it is simply an honour to have worked with its management, staff and all of the trainees; whom I call in to see as often as possible. I know Stepping Stones will have a very bright future and I am proud to have played a part in that.”

Our Chief Officer Paula was delighted at the achievements of our trainees and clients saying:

“Once again we have been overwhelmed and encouraged by the support we have seen over the past 12 months from our funders, local employers, local council and the Lisburn community in general.  The people accessing our services continue to thrive and achieve and today is about them and is such a special day for us all.  I would like to thank each and every person who continues to work hard, to achieve their potential, the Stepping Stones staff that support them to do this, the local employers offering employment to them and to all others supporting us to make lives better for people with learning disabilities and learning difficulties.


Trainee Michelle accepting her award


Trainee Stephen

patrick award

Trainee Patrick

Excellence at Stepping Stones NI Recognised at Awards Ceremony

On the same day that we celebrated the achievements of our trainees and clients, we were ourselves the recipients of two awards!  An award for excellence in customer service, and a Steps to Excellence award.  The event hosted by Centre for Competitiveness was held at the Clandeboye Lodge in Bangor and was ran in conjunction with Invest Northern Ireland, and supported by the Department of Finance and Personnel, NIE, and Hewlett Packard.

Bob Barbour Centre for Competitiveness Chief Executive said: “Our winners have undergone rigorous examination and have illustrated their employees’ dedication, low absenteeism, higher productivity, customer satisfaction and superior financial performance.”

Niall Casey, Invest NI Director Skills and Strategy Solutions said, “These awards raise awareness of how the pursuit of excellence can have a tangible effect on business and contribute towards growth and economic prosperity.

Our Chief Officer Paula accepted the awards and commented:  “I am delighted to receive these awards on behalf of the entire staff team at Stepping Stones.  These awards are a clear indicator that we not only work to support people with learning disabilities and learning difficulties to fulfil their potential, we work to make sure our organisation and its staff fulfil theirs.  We are all incredibly proud of this achievement and are excited to continue on our EQFM journey in the future.”



The Institute of Directors Takes on a Fundraising Challenge

‘I am a Chairman, get me out of here!’ – The Institute of Directors takes on a fundraising challenge for Stepping Stones: scary boas, tarantulas, and scorpions, all part of the experience.

Thank you to Paul Terrington IoD Chairman, Ken Roulston CMI Director, Stephen Smith Director Lighthouse Communications, and Richard Knox Chairman from Stepping Stones NI for all their hard work and fundraising.

Richard Knox, Stepping Stones Chairman with the scorpion!

Richard Knox, Stepping Stones Chairman with the scorpion!

The Institute of Directors Chairman at ease with a tarantula!

The Institute of Directors Chairman at ease with a tarantula!

Thank you to all the contestants for facing the challenges.

Thank you to all the contestants for facing the challenges.

Winners at Lisburn Business City Awards 2011

Stepping Stones were delighted to win the award for Best Non-Licensed Eating Establishment with our Avenue Coffee Shop in the Lisburn City Business Awards on the 19th of April 2011.

We were also runners up for Best Social Enterprise Award.


New card range at Pink Elephant

Vintage 81

The team at Pink Elephant Cards have been busy following the latest bridal trends to come up with some absolutely stunning designs for new brides and grooms to choose from.

Not only this, but their exclusive design blog has also been updated and has some gorgeous hints and tips for making your special day extra special.

To find out more please visit their new website or check out their facebook page

Vintage 84

Ulster Tatler Charity of the Year Award

We were delighted to pick up the joint award for Charity of the Year with the Boom Foundation at the recent Ulster Tatler Awards 2014 held at City Hall, Belfast.

The event was hosted by local comedian Tim Mc Garry and the charity of the year award presented by Robert McMillen from the sponsor company Saville Audio Visual.

Speaking at the event Paula Jennings Chief Officer of Stepping Stones NI said:  “Winning the the Ulster Tatler Award for Charity of the Year award is absolutely fantastic and I am proud to receive it. The team at Stepping Stones NI will be delighted. Thank you to Ulster Tatler readers for voting for us and to the Ulster Tatler for hosting such a wonderful event. The award will have a special place in our coffee shop at Seymour Street for everyone to see”.

ISO 9001 Quality Standard Certificate from BSI

We are very pleased to announce that in October 2014  Stepping Stones has received the , confirming that we operate a Quality Management System which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008.

Stepping Stones NI  Quality Policy  statement:

Stepping Stones NI Ltd was established to provide adults and young people with learning difficulties and learning disabilities with the opportunity to access support and training towards gaining employment.

The overarching aim of the organisation is to facilitate them to have access to vocational training towards supported employment opportunities advancing social inclusion within their local community.

The organisation has set agreed, measurable business objectives, which are monitored on an on-going basis through KPIs, where appropriate.

Management Commitment is demonstrated through both this Quality policy and the setting of strategic objectives. These objectives are achieved through the adherence and continual improvement of our documented Quality management system which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008.

The Quality policy is made available to our staff through its availability as part of our Quality manual and is displayed on noticeboards.

Both the Quality policy and related objectives are reviewed in the context of continual improvement on a regular basis by senior management through Management Review meetings.

Charity of the Year Opportunity

This is an opportunity for all members of your company to work together to support the work of Stepping Stones NI.

We will help you to develop a fundraising calendar, create new and exciting ways to involve staff in fundraising and give you our full support and commitment throughout our partnership. Most importantly we will make sure the process is easy, effective and fun!

Benefits of Choosing Stepping Stones NI as your charity of the year:

  • You will get a dedicated development manager and fundraising team to support you and your staff
  • Help to develop your fundraising calendar and PR opportunities
  • We will help you engage with the community
  • Social opportunities for staff
  • Volunteering opportunities for staff
  • Invaluable good press for your company
  • The satisfaction of knowing that with little work you will be making an immeasurable difference to the life of someone affected by learning disability

For more information on how your company can get involved with the work of Stepping Stones please contact our Business Development Manager on 02892 667124, 07912085666 or by emailing

Stepping Stones NI – Celebration Event 2014

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