This is Francis Cleary’s bright idea for Greater Leinster.

Creating an inclusive and safe space for people with social anxiety disorder.


Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is the irrational and excessive fear of social situations and interactions.

It is estimated that 1 in 8 people in Ireland suffer from SAD.  In many cases, the person is aware that the fear is unreasonable, yet is unable to overcome it and the fear may be made worse by a lack of social skills or experience in social situations.

At Step Out we believe that being able to meet new people is an imperative for people with Social Anxiety to be able to lead fulfilling lives.

The main way we provide this is by organising Positive Step Groups – regular social interaction opportunities for our members where they can connect with other people with SAD, build social confidence and feel a sense of belonging whilst in an environment that is tailored to and understanding of their anxiety.

The groups are small, informal and group facilitators are present to make sure everyone is at ease and welcome to step out of their fear.

As we have held more and more support groups we have begun to understand some of the other needs of our members such as support accessing employment services and high quality counselling services.