STEP works with more than 300 children and young people each year, providing support and life management skills to some of the most vulnerable in our community.


Therapeutic Service – Evening Groups

Young people aged 9 – 18 years old complete an 11-14 week programme (in line with school term times), with progress reviewed regularly. Sessions are tailor-made to meet the identified needs of young people, who each set their own targets to work on. Key therapeutic aims include; Managing anger, Stress and anxiety management skills, Dealing with difficult situations, Communication, Working with others (teamwork), Relationships, Peer pressures, Keeping safe (home, school, community), Appreciating your personal qualities / skills (learning to like you for who you are).

Young people attend one group per week, 6-8pm. Unfortunately, if a young person is unable to attend on a particular evening, we cannot usually accommodate swapping due to the careful allocation based on group theme, risk, numbers, needs and/or abilities of young people. If a young person cannot attend the sessions offered, we can defer their place and try and offer an alternative in the following allocation.

At the moment, we are running a specific 5 STEP’s to well-being group in line with the Government initiative of introducing these simple strategies to your life:

Connect – talk and listen to the people around you; your friends and family. Spend time developing these relationships.

Be active – find an activity that you enjoy; staying energised enhances your mood.

Keep learning – embrace new experiences; new skills can give you a sense of achievement and more confidence…you might surprise yourself!

Give – even the smallest act of kindness towards others can count whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a compliment. Your time, words and presence often mean more than you think.

Take notice – be aware / mindful of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Don’t take things for granted, and remember the simple things which make you happy. This can give you a positive outlook when you approach new challenges.

Junior STEP – Evening group

Junior STEP is a programme to support primary school children aged 7 – 9 years old. The group provides a nurturing, stable and safe environment for the same children on the same evening, with the same workers for a school term (once a week 6-7:30pm). This enables children to develop meaningful and trusting relationships with both adult workers and their peers, learn new skills, express feelings, manage emotions and build confidence.

Saturday Group

Daytime group specifically for young people with disabilities aged 8 – 25 years old. Young people attend once a month on a Saturday, 11am – 1/1.30pm. Minibus transport is provided if needed.

The project offers a combination of centre-based group work sessions structured by session plans, with activities such as visits to parks, leisure and community facilities. Young people are given the opportunity to participate in sessions using a mixture of discussion and activities focusing on the development of identified personal targets. Sport, games, art, drama, music and cooking are used as a framework for delivery.

General Group Information


-Every young person is taught the ‘STEP boundaries’, which include no physical contact, show respect, no bullying, confidentiality, taking part etc. These are essential to maintain a safe and supportive environment where young people can be themselves and feel secure. Young people sign to say they will adhere to the boundaries and a large part of being at STEP is to learn how to keep to them – a valuable skill for getting on well in other areas of their lives.

-If a group boundary is broken, the young person will receive a verbal warning and be given a reason why. They will also be offered time-out, which means they can spend a few minutes away from the group if they want to, in the designated quiet / chill-out room.

-Any further behaviour incidents will be dealt with on an individual basis. We will try all we can to support the young person or find the right support for them, whether that be changing groups, deferring their place or signposting.

-We reserve the right to withdraw a young person from a group at any point if their behaviour becomes too disruptive to, or unsafe for, others and sincerely appreciate parent/carer understanding with this.


-There is the possibility each session to earn a green card, ‘star of the week’ or similar, as a reward for hard work and positive behaviour.

-Workers will feedback to parent/carers and referrers any breakthroughs and achievements made during sessions.

-We offer summer activities to young people, depending on funding.


STEP welcomes feedback from our parents/carers, referrers and stakeholders which in turn helps to shape our service.
STEP has given my child the confidence to try new things and met new people and form friendships with like-minded people.
I am now able to talk easier with my child.
We have a big hectic family; STEP has given my daughter time to focus on herself.
My son is more understanding towards his family and their feelings.
Less fighting in school now. My daughter is better at walking away from her sister, she will go to her room to avoid arguing.
Communication between us all has improved. We are not afraid to talk about things now.
His anger has subsided and he can manage situations better. A happy son means a happier life for us all.
Great job, thank you. You do everything you can to help. You have been kind, very accommodating and listened to us.
Over time, STEP has been proven to be the most effective intervention for the young people referred. Swindon would be a much poorer place without STEP.
STEP has proved support to our students who are experiencing difficulties at home or school. We see how successful referrals have been, as well as how positive pupil feedback is.
I consider STEP to be an invaluable service. I have witnessed first-hand the difference attending STEP has made – developing social skills, building resilience, raising self-esteem and building confidence. The staff are professional and it is clear they are committed to make a real difference to the lives of young people.


Families that do not have their own transport, or are struggling to get their young person to a group, are invited to get in touch to see if we are able to help.

Referral Process

Children and young people can be referred by an adult who knows them well, for example a social worker, teacher or SENDCo. We prefer an Early Help Record (EHR), EHCP, Initial Assessment or Core Assessment but we do have our own referral form that can be filled out. Once a referral is received, it is assessed and the STEP team will allocate the young person to the project they feel is most appropriate. The group they attend is only confirmed after the first two face-to-face sessions.

STEP Referral Form




Frequently Asked Questions

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 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 around 12 weeks and then the young person will leave STEP. We review everyone in week 9 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.

You need to be referred (there is a form to fill in) by 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.

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 about our waiting list.

Families that do not have transport and are struggling to get their young person to group, please get in touch with us to see if we are able to help.

As per your invite sent in the post before programmes start, 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 our Facebook page so please check at such times for updates. If you need to contact a STEP worker during group times or drop-off, please use the mobile – 07531 513086.

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 so we think it is better if family/friends do not come together.

This will usually be one set of groups for Evening Groups, so around 12 weeks. 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 skills, knowledge and confidence to be able to cope better and move onto mainstream activities such as a youth club, new hobby, peer mentoring etc.    STEP is voluntary and the service will not be as beneficial if you do not want to be here. Please let us know if you don’t want a place; if you just stop coming, we don’t get the chance to get your feedback 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.

You can call our office during the week and speak to your child’s group worker for an update on how they are progressing or to find out what they are working on in group. Workers will call parents/carers if they need to discuss any issues or to celebrate successes. There will also be a written summary given at the end of a programme.

Our aim is for young people to work on their reasons for referral and to build the skills they need during their offered intervention. We then advise a period of consolidation after groups have finished for the young person to then put these skills into practice. On occasions if workers feels that a young person needs further support from us, we will discuss this with parents/carers. Re-referrals will be assessed on a case by case basis, as often repeating a similar programme is detrimental.

We have a Friends of STEP Facebook page – please check it out for upcoming events and what we have been up to.

You can find us on the Charity Commission’s website (registered charity number 1176672). Please check this website from time to time as well for updates, photos and news stories. If you have any questions at any time, please send an email or call the office.

In groups, we ask young people on a regular basis to comment on the sessions they have taken part in and give any feedback 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 always welcome any comments you may have.

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 send 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 a registered charity, STEP relies heavily on volunteers to support workers in group sessions delivering face-to-face youth work, and also as Trustees 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.