Our story begins with our own personal experience. As parents of a young man with autism and severe learning difficulties who is on the cusp of adulthood, we were very aware that the kind of provision he needed on leaving school was nowhere to be found in our local area. And as a former Headteacher and Post 16 Lead in special schools we had always known young people in a similar situation: their difficulties complex enough to need a highly personalised programme, yet benefitting from belonging to a peer group, from being based in a stable and secure environment and from supported integration into the local community. And so the idea of Stepping Out was born.
Having retired from our teaching jobs in order to make the idea a reality, we began to research, discuss and plan, eventually opening Stepping Out to its first young adults in September 2021.
However our story doesn't stop there. We want this website to record the development of Stepping Out as it happens. Our vision is that it will become a community of young people (known as members), parents, carers, employees and local people, in which all are valued and contribute in different ways to its growth.