On Tuesday 18th June I attended the Bolton Steps consultation afternoon and discover more about the success the charity has had in the past and look at what and how they hope to achieve their goals in the future.
The session started with a lovely lunch provided by the team at Café Eden. There were cupcakes, a choice of sandwich toppings, fruit on a skewer, shortbread biscuits and chicken pieces. Then it was down to the real reason we were there.
Ruth Haigh, one of the managers at Bolton STEPS, introduced Bolton STEPS to the 20 people who attended and then welcomed Mari Martin-Williams, who works for MMM Funding Solutions, and subsequently led the remainder of the event.
The powerpoint Mari led addressed the different aspects of STEPS, like which agencies refer service users to them in the first place, why service users come to STEPS, what service users were doing before STEPS, the barriers they faced before coming to STEPS, STEPS’ strengths, the impact STEPS has on their lives and finally which particular services they access.
One of the highlights of the session was watching and listening to the testimonials of the service users who have been through the Bolton STEPS programme. It was clear to see that dozens of people have benefitted from the services STEPS provide.
Bolton STEPS provides support and training for individuals with mental health issues and aims to give them the tools they need to progress to further employment, improve their confidence and ultimately improve their quality of life. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 who has a mental health issue and lives in Bolton can access their services.
These facilities include
Café Eden- Service users can learn catering and hospitality skills
Catering-Part of the Café Eden project, service users learn catering skills in a less noisy environment
Steps IT- People who struggle with their IT skills can receive one to one training on PC’s
Fix IT- Training in the repair, refurbishment and upgrading of computers
Bolton Ebiz- The opportunity to learn how to sell goods on the internet
Art group- Service users can attend workshops in painting, card making, 3D drawing and more
Driving-Service users can do deliveries as part of their placement
Admin and reception duties- Service users can do their placements in the Bolton STEPS office or help out on reception of the adjacent Victoria Halls
Stepping Out- Individuals can get advice on how to write an appealing CV and how to apply for jobs
Then the room split into two groups to discuss 5 key questions:
1) What are STEPS’ strengths?
2) How can STEPS complement the service you offer?
3) What are the needs and barriers for STEPS’ service users?
4) How well do you address these barriers?
5) What services do you currently provide for STEPS’ service users?
A lively discussion was had by both groups of people with many important points raised. Representatives from the NHS, Bolton Council, BAND and many more contributed to the debates taking place.The Bolton STEPS team will use the information gathered from the event to enhance their services in the future.