Parents will attempt to resurrect autistic kids’ help group
Families who attended a lifeline autism service before it closed amidst a funding crisis say they will endeavour to find the money to resurrect it themselves.
Lanarkshire Autism One-Stop Shop shut its doors on June 3 after a three-year funding deal with the Scottish Government came to an end.
While all other one stop shops have been adopted by local authorities across Scotland, North and South Lanarkshire councils have not committed to the £75,000 each required to keep the service open.
Now some of the 1,500 people, who supported by the One-Stop Shop each year, have pledged to raise the money needed to operate the service themselves.
Karen Noble, one of the parents involved in the fight to reinstate the service, said they hope to raise £37,500, which would cover the costs of the OSS for one financial quarter of the year.
She said: “We started this as several parents asked if we could do this and try to raise the funds ourselves. We are also writing to every company we can think of begging them for help.
“I am hoping it is a bit like the old fashioned chain mail letters. If you donate one pound and then five of your friends do and then five of their friends do and so on, but the donations have been for so much more.
“Someone has donated £100. People are asking me if they can set up standing orders too.
“We are desperate. I cannot keep watching families beg for help and support for their children.”
Campaigners have spoken to the Big Lottery and Children in Need and are preparing applications for both. They have been told it will be some months before either charity makes a final decision.
Karen added: “The Scottish Government did employ someone to assure all one-stop shops received funding at the end of the three years. This was not followed through.
“The government are telling us that this is a local issue, councils are blaming each other, the government and Scottish Autism.
“Meanwhile kids with a life-long disability are suffering.”
South Lanarkshire Council have said they will provide the same services as the One Stop Shop, although parents say what is on offer is not the same.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “We are committed to improving the lives of people with autism. We recognise the work of the Lanarkshire One Stop Shop is valued by people with autism, their families and the professionals who work with them.
“It has always been clear that the initial Scottish Government funding was time limited for three years. The objective was to develop local support services for people with autism which built on existing local services, identifying and filling gaps in existing provision.
“The expectation was that the model would be sustainable in the longer term within local health and social care partnerships.
“We will continue to work with both North and South Lanarkshire and Scottish Autism to support the transition into local services.
“We also want to ensure that the views of service users are represented in future local service delivery.”