Local charity Stepping Stones NI will begin 2023 as the new tenant at Navigation House in the city, having signed a five-year lease with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council (LCCC).

Stepping Stones provides a range of services and social enterprises that support people with learning difficulties. Its permanent move to new premises next year coincides with its 25th anniversary delivering services in the area.

Working in partnership with The Waterways Community and Lagan Navigation Trust, Stepping Stones NI will offer an extensive programme of activity which includes a horticultural social business, employment academies and a wellbeing programme delivering yoga, mindfulness and cycling groups for people with severe learning disabilities.

Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, LCCC’s Development Committee Chairman said: “We are delighted that Stepping Stones NI has secured this lease. The newly-renovated space will enable them to expand their current portfolio of activity to benefit people with disabilities.

“Their programme will focus on health and wellbeing to cater for people living in the local area. New projects will generate employment and training opportunities including a new horticultural social enterprise business. We wish them every success in their new home and look forward to following their journey.”

Paula Jennings, Chief Officer of Stepping Stones NI added: “We’re thrilled to be taking up permanent residence at this historic site. It is a very exciting venture, working in partnership with The Waterways Community and the Lagan Navigation Trust where the waterways network and surrounding environment will be opened up for the community to enjoy.”

The project has been made possible through funding from the Platinum Jubilee Fund through The National Lottery Community Fund, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council “The Mayor’s Innovation Fund : Social Enterprise Award” supporting the ‘Seed, Grow, Eat’ horticultural programme as well as The Rank Foundation. 

A range of activities at Navigation House is planned for 2023 including a summer garden party for trainees, parents and community members to showcase the full offering at Navigation House and to celebrate Stepping Stones’ silver anniversary. 

For programme related enquiries, contact Paula Jennings at paula.jennings@stepping-stones.org.uk