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Lottery funding provides a boost

A CHARITY that supports autistic individuals, their families, professionals and organisations is delighted to have been awarded £264,857 by The National Lottery Community Fund. This organisation distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK.

“We’re over the moon to have been awarded this grant,” said Linsey Atkins, Head of Family Support at Autism East Midlands. “Thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to create six more family support hubs right across the region, making our hubs more accessible to hundreds of families across the East Midlands. The Family Support Hubs are designed to be safe places for families affected by autism to gather, for autistic young people to establish peer relationships and for their parents and siblings to access advice and form effective support networks.”

Autism East Midlands currently runs nine family support hubs in the East Midlands and this new funding will further expand this by adding six more. The new hubs’ locations have been specifically chosen in order to maximise coverage, enabling more families from across the East Midlands to access a hub within a commutable distance to them.

The hub sessions offer a range of activities, such as arts and crafts or gaming, which autistic young people can undertake with their families and with each other. These are carefully designed to promote social interaction and help them to develop crucial communication skills. The sessions provide opportunities for young autistic people to meet one another and develop the skills and confidence they need to build friendships and peer support networks, both within hub sessions and elsewhere. They also offer a relaxed and supportive environment in which families can enjoy quality time together, generating valuable peer support networks.

“We hope the expansion of our family support hub network will enable us to provide invaluable support to an extra 275 families across the National Lottery Community funding period,” said Linsey. “This money will change the lives of the autistic individuals and their families.”

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