AUTISM CONCERN UPDATE – CHILDRENS SERVICES
We are delighted to announce that following the AGM last week, it was unanimously agreed by the membership that Autism Concern would be merging with Autism East Midlands from the 1st January 2018. Not only does this secure our short term stability and long term aspirations, but it also gives us an even greater level of credibility at this time of change. Whilst we will be looking to extend our services beyond what we currently do, even looking to move into the adult market, we realise that the vast majority of users access our children’s services at present.
We are pleased to announce that Dawn Franklin, who currently heads up children’s services at Autism East Midlands, will now be including Autism Concern within her role effective immediately. Dawn has been responsible for introducing some innovative and award winning ideas which we are incredibly excited about seeing introduced for the children of this county. Moreover she is already talking about how we can expand, develop, improve and modernise our current offering whilst including even greater numbers. As a result her and Mary Stanley (senior manager for adult services at Autism East Midlands and joint acting MD of Autism Concern) have several meetings planned with the Local Authority commissioners in order to expand upon these ideas and lend their expertise to the current consultation process.
We need to let it be known that Wendy Hunter, our current Operations Manager, has decided to take on another role outside of the organisation. We are proud to say that Wendy was in fact headhunted, which we take as a validation of the quality and high regard Autism Concern is held in. She will be working in a senior role within Autism in the county, but leaves us still being a supporter and advocate of Autism Concern. We are grateful to her for the work she has done for us and look forward to continuing the relationship albeit in a different capacity.
This means that there is a fresh opportunity for us to expand the team, and we will be advertising for a new role soon. The position will be a little different – we have modernised it and made it more hands on, plus, taking direction from Dawn, they will have the opportunity to work more closely with the children and families we support within the community.
Our existing services, namely the help and advice and ADHD Matters activities will continue to operate as they are, with Lesley, Cindy and Zoe continuing to do a great job. Early into next year we will look at how we can develop these also.
To clarify – there have not been nor will there be any redundancies caused by this merger. In fact we want to grow the team and we are confident that anyone who joins us will be doing so at the most exciting time for the children’s services. We now have more experience, more reach and more resources than at any other time in our 25 year history.
We will continue to work with our community and update you as and when we have more news. But please do feel free to drop anyone in the office an email, pick up the phone or pop in to see us. We are all about making this charity inclusive, but we do need your support in order for us to deliver a great service to those with Autistic Spectrum Conditions and their families.
From The Board of Trustees on behalf of Autism Concern