Par­ents will at­tempt to res­ur­rect autis­tic kids’ help group

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

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.”

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