CELEBRATIONS are the order of the day as an autism charity marks its first anniversary.
More than 1,300 people in Birmingham and Solihull living with autism have been supported by education and training charity Landau.
The organisation has also awarded nearly £500,000 in grants to third sector organisations in the region to help improve services which support the health and wellbeing of autistic people, their families and carers.
The Midlands-based charity’s All Age Autism Support Service (AAASS) revealed the figures as it issued a rallying call for health, education and community groups to take advantage of the free support on offer.
Sonia Roberts, Landau chief executive, said although the first year of the AAASS project had been hugely successful, there were still people living with autism or awaiting diagnosis in Solihull who were unaware of the help available.
She said: “As well as the grant support, we operate a service directory providing a single point of access to current support services in Birmingham and Solihull.
“We also have an online referral process for use by professionals and self-referrals which provides access to free support services through AAASS grant funded projects.
“What we’d like to see happen now is more people being referred to those projects, particularly in the Solihull area, where we think people may be falling through the gaps.”
Solihull projects which are supporting autistic people thanks to grant support include Inclusive Sport Academy, Catherine de Barnes-based Family Care Trust and Solihull Parent Carer Voice.
Sonia, who was awarded an MBE for services getting people into training and work in the King’s Birthday Honours, added: “We are already working with schools, colleges, community groups, mental health providers, GPs and hospitals to make sure people know what support is out there.
“But we know there will be organisations and individuals who would benefit but are not currently being referred either to the grant funded projects or signposted to the service directory.
“We want to change this and help even more autistic people to feel supported and improve their health and wellbeing.”
AAASS is being led by Landau with funding provided by National Health Service England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) in partnership with the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group.
Organisations that run autism services in Birmingham or Solihull that are interested in finding out more about the scheme or applying for grant funding can visit www.allageautism.co.uk