Step by Step

15th July 2021


The speaker at this week’s meeting was Gareth Jenkins, Project Manager of Step by Step since 2019.

Gareth is originally from Leith in Edinburgh and has previously been a Maths Teacher, a Training Officer in the RAF, involved in Active Schools and also with a local cycling charity for people with disabilities as well as being a keen supporter of Moray Road Runners for over 12 years.

Step by Step was established in 2008 by Anne Attenburrow and Nancy Robson, both well known to our Club, who recognised that traditional mother and baby groups were not appropriate for everyone. Their vision was to build quality relationships to give families the best start in life.  Following an 8 week pilot, 3 years of funding was secured which led to their journey – step by step. Since 2008 they have supported around 1,700 parents and 2,200 children and presently run 16 groups – 14 in Elgin and 2 in Forres supporting 108 families at any given time.

Step by Step supports families with children aged 0-3 and mainly provides 90 minute group sessions with a consistent structure to allow the parents and children to build a routine as they build relationships. The sessions include a relaxed introduction, arts and crafts, storytime, snack time and concludes with song time, always finishing with Wind the Bobbin Up. Volunteers join these sessions to offer support and act as role models, many of them are known as the wise grannies.

Following these sessions parents are welcome to make use of the Moray Food Plus larder and are given access to toys, baby equipment and clothing to take home.

In addition to the group sessions Step by Step provides 1 to 1 support and works in collaboration with a number of other local organisations and charities, including Moray Food Plus, Moray Baby Bank, Moray School Bank and Revolution for family counselling.

In 2019 Prof (Emerita) Karen McArdle of the University of Aberdeen conducted a study of impact entitled A brilliant Place: A Place of Calm.

Her conclusions on the work of Step by Step included the following quote ‘Caring, nurturing, support, unconditional love and non-judgemental are all words and phrases used to describe the quality of relationships which permeate every nook and cranny of Step by Step.’

Step by Step adapted to the Covid situation by moving all groups online, keeping up the 90 minute sessions and allowing the families to stay connected. 1 to 1 support was ramped up as the staff became more involved with referrals, deliveries of food and essential items and assisting with grant applications. None of the staff were furloughed.

When restrictions allowed they moved their meetings to outdoors and on 21st June were able to meet indoors again as the group sizes are small enough to allow this. They are now at the point of rebuilding the confidence of the families, staff and volunteers and have recently relocated to Victoria House in Victoria Crescent, Elgin.

It takes approximately £160,000 annually to run the project which has been fortunate to receive repeat funding provided by some local funders and private donations, currently covering until August 2024. There are 10 Trustees, 7 Staff and 36 Volunteers currently and new volunteers are always welcome.

Gareth rounded off his presentation with the real highlight of a visit from the Earl and Countess of Forfar in 2019. The very relaxed nature of their visit meant a great deal to the staff, volunteers and families which could be clearly seen on the smiling faces in the photographs.

More information on the work of Step by Step in Moray is available on their website

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back Elgin Rotary regularly invite speakers to our weekly meetings. Read about some of them here