STEP provides community development and training services to individuals and groups, in the South Tyrone community and across Northern Ireland. They have made a significant contribution to developing a participative, rights-based community infrastructure in South Tyrone. STEP provides training, community development, and interpretation services. They also offer community groups and individuals:
- Mentoring and advice on community development or training;
- Room and equipment hire;
- Assistance with funding applications;
- Financial advice and payroll services; and
- Help with marketing, events management, staff development and other initiatives.
Migrant Workers’ Support Project
The Migrant Workers’ Support Project was founded in 2001, when various individuals began offering voluntary advice and guidance to new migrant workers in the Dungannon area. Initially, most migrant workers were Portuguese speakers (from Brazil, East Timor, Portugal, Cape Verde etc), but a much wider range of nationalities now make up the migrant workforce, including many Polish, Czech and Lithuanian people.
In May 2006, STEP launched a Migrant Workers’ Support Network to allow groups working in the field to share information, ideas and resources. This includes organisations across Northern Ireland and south of the Border. They aim to support migrant workers in all aspects of the process of integration, in the hope this will contribute to a diverse, fair and tolerant society in which human rights are respected.
Some of the main areas of work are a Migrant Support Centre, work on employment rights, training and language support, immigration advice and community development work. The Migrant Support Centre offers free information, advice and guidance for migrants about accessing basic services. Most service users have little knowledge of English, so there are three bi-lingual support workers at hand (speaking Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese / Tetum). The centre also offers English courses.
STEPs employment rights activities aim to expose exploitation and discrimination. Migrant workers can receive advice on work, social and economic issues, and in 2004 a campaign was launched to raise awareness of the Workers’ Charter of Rights.
Footprint Training Services
Footprint is STEP's training programme for marginalised community members. The services are tailored to the needs of each individual, helping them to achieve personal development. STEP’s aim is to build an inclusive, fair and peaceful society, and to do this, this project aims to enhance the skills of individual learners and encourage them to engage in training and education.
Footprint offers a wide range of courses ranging from digital photography to languages, childcare and food hygiene. The project delivers information and computer technology training to people with disabilities, and business training to individuals who have faced barriers of social exclusion or poor education.
Community Development initiatives have always been a main focus of South Tyrone Empowerment Programme (STEP). The aim is to help migrant and marginalised people in South Tyrone integrate with the local community, in order to build a more peaceful and cohesive society.
To STEP, community development means capacity building, community building, promoting economic development, and securing access to housing, education and health services. These are the most basic requirements for people to be able to integrate as full members of society.