Frequently Asked Questions
So what actually is STEP?
STEP is a chance for young people aged 10-18 (or 7-9 in Junior STEP) who are having difficulties in their lives, or have specific needs, to take part in a group to work on these issues. The groups involve lots of activities - art, drama, sports, games, cooking etc - that are designed with an underlying theme to help develop life skills such as managing anger, building confidence and dealing with difficult situations. Evening Group programmes last 14 weeks and then the young person will leave STEP. We review everyone in week 10 so if further work is needed, we may be able to offer it.
We also run a Saturday Project for young people with learning disabilities, and holiday activities depending on funding. As with all groups, young people need to be referred and parental consent obtained before they can attend.
How do I get invited to STEP?
You need to be referred (there is a form to fill in), or we accept an Early Help Record (EHR), be a professional that knows you well. This could be a teacher or social worker for example. We cannot usually accept self referrals or referrals solely from parent/carers, and we do stress that STEP is voluntary so it must be YOUR CHOICE to attend.
What happens once I am referred?
Two STEP workers assess the form and see if STEP is suitable to meet the needs stated, and then which project would be most appropriate. You, your parent/carer and referrer will get a letter to invite you to an introduction session, which is for all new young people to find out more about how STEP works. You may have to wait a while to start depending on when you are referred, but we will get you into the next available group whenever possible.
Do you provide transport?
Yes, we have a minibus that picks up from the main areas of Swindon and we take young people home afterwards, seeing them into their door.
Due to the high volume of young people we work with, the limited time between schools finishing and groups starting and traffic conditions, it is not always possible to have a pick up point as close to where each young person lives as we'd like, but we try to make these as fair as possible. Currently we are unable to provide transport to/from the wider Swindon area such as Wroughton, Chiseldon, Highworth, Purton, Wootton Bassett etc, but young people from all these areas are welcome to attend.
Is STEP on tonight / this week??
As per your invite sent in the post, we will always run each week as planned and will make every attempt to let you know if we have to cancel a session. Please ensure we have your up to date contact details so that we can do this.
On the rare occasions when groups are cancelled due to adverse weather and access cannot be made to the building, we will post on this website so please check at such times for updates.
If you need to contact a STEP worker during pick-up/drop-off and group times, please use the mobile - 07531 513086.
Can siblings or friends be in the same group?
Generally, no. Young people are referred to STEP for many different reasons, which can include needing time for themselves to get away from the frictions of home and/or school. This cannot happen if family members, or other people they usually mix with, are there.
Most people when they first come to STEP do not know anyone, which can be a scary prospect. If there are several people there who already know each other, this can be quite intimidating for others and we want to make young people feel at ease and have the chance to make new friends whilst at STEP so we think it is better if family/friends do not come together.
How long will I be at STEP?
With our new set of projects, this will usually be 14 weeks for Evening Groups. You will take part in an intensive programme and because you will be with the same worker and the same group, you will really get to know each other and be able to learn lots that you can then take away and use in other areas of your life.
STEP is a short term intervention programme where the aim is to build young people's skills, knowledge and confidence to be able to cope better and move onto mainstream activities such as a youth club, new hobby, peer mentoring and/or to be part of Swindon Youth Forum (www.swindonyouthforum.org.uk).
If you have attended STEP for a while and no longer feel it is for you, please let us know! STEP is voluntary and the service will not be as beneficial to you if you don't want to be there. If you just stop coming, we don't get the chance to get your feed back which could help us make improvements. You can tell your referrer to speak to us, or your parent/carer, and it may be that you have enough activities on or that a different service would be better for you - we can talk this through.
How can I find out more about STEP and keep updated?
We have a Friends of STEP Facebook page - please check it out for upcoming events and what we have been up to.
An Annual Report is produced and you can find us on the Charity Commission's website (registered charity number 291350).
Please check this website from time to time as well (swindonstep.org.uk) for updates, photos and news stories. If you have any questions at any time, please use the Contact Us link at the top to send us an email.
How do I give my comments / feedback?
In groups, we ask young people on a weekly basis to comment on the sessions they have taken part in and give any feed back they have. Workers keep weekly records (group notes) of how sessions have gone. We ask for verbal and written feedback from parents/carers so that we can report back to our funders, so welcome any comments you may have. We also hold Open Evenings where everyone is invited to see young people's work, for certificates to be presented and we usually have food, a raffle and music!
If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback to give on anything you've read or the service you've received, we would love to hear from you. Please use the Contact Us link above to send us an email or call the office directly.
If you would like to register a complaint, please request a Complaints Form and a copy of the Complaints Procedure giving further guidance.
As an adult, how can I help?
As a registered charity, STEP relies heavily on volunteers to support workers in group sessions delivering face-to-face youth work, and also on our Management Committee to oversee the running of STEP as a whole. If you are interested in finding out more about either of these roles, please see the 'volunteering' section of this website and/or contact the office for a chat.
Alternatively, why not support us in your own fundraising event or raise money by being sponsored? We can provide t-shirts and set up a sponsorship page for you on JustGiving to save the hassle of collecting the money in.