Stepping Stones trainee bakes in Stormont kitchen for Minister

Stepping Stones trainee
Stepping Stones trainee

Jamesy O’Neill, a trainee chef at Lisburn’s Stepping Stones NI, was invited to bake for Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Kris Hopkins, at Stormont House recently.

Jamesy was invited to showcase his baking skills after Minister Hopkins visited Stepping Stones NI a few months ago to see the impact of their work.

He was so impressed with Jamesy that he invited him to bake his special scone recipe at the Stormont House kitchen with tea and catch up afterwards.

Chef, Martin Nelson, was really impressed with Jamesy’s baking and said “Jamesy’s scones were even better than mine”.

Minister Hopkins sampled Jamesy’s baking over tea with Jamesy and Stepping Stones NI Chief Officer, Paula Jennings said “I’m inviting him again, if the quality of his scones are this good, I’m inviting him again”.

Jamesy has been supported by Stepping Stones NI to develop new skills in catering and hospitality and to get a paid job.

He said, “Stepping Stones NI has helped me loads and they have given me more strength as well as helping me get a job”.

The award winning charitable organisations supports people with a learning disability and learning difficulty to gain meaningful training that will lead to employment.

With almost 20 years of expertise they operate six social enterprises and four core services supporting school leavers and individuals who need support to get paid employment.

The organisation’s Youth Service project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Each year the charity supports around 250 people with links to over 400 employers supporting clients to gain training work placements and paid jobs. Paula Jennings adds “Our support extends beyond training and employment, we see confidence and self-esteem growing, new friendships forming and a new independence for the people that we support.

The impact of this is then felt by families and employers who see the real benefit of employing a person with a learning disability or learning difficulty”.

To find out more training and employment services at Stepping stones NI contact Claire Humphreys, Employment Services Coordinator on 028 9266 6404 or

Stepping Stones NI was established in 1996 to provide adults with learning difficulties / disabilities in Lisburn with the opportunity to access accredited training towards gaining employment.