The Stepping Stones project was a partnership project between Stafford Borough Council and Homes Plus with funding provided by The National Lottery Community Fund.
The aim of Stepping Stones was to help isolated individuals engage locally and increase social interaction. The original project design set out to do this by working in an ‘Asset Based Community Development’ approach to increase access to existing community activities including those BeConnected activities that were also funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. This was to be achieved by extending and developing the provision of Community and Volunteer transport schemes and by introducing walking buses across Stafford Borough.
In early 2020 the UK was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with central government guidance, all activities which required groups from different households to meet were suspended from operating in their usual manner.
The Stepping Stones project was re-designed to enable its safe continuation and adherence to social distancing rules and guidance. The was done by assisting isolated individuals to increase their physical activity, safe social interaction and engagement with their local, natural surroundings with the creation of Doorstep Walks.
Doorstep Walks help the 'walker' to explore and take notice of interesting features in their neighbourhood whilst being active and pursuing healthier lifestyles. The walks aim to be a stepping stone towards building walker confidence, generating discussion and interaction around a common interest and raising ambition for participation in group activities in the future.