Service users (above & below) pictured at Autism East Midlands Sherwood Centre, Nottinghamshire
With the grant support of £19,653 from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Autism East Midlands proudly launch Autism Can!
Kick starting last month and with the planned capabilities to continue onwards until 2029. The grant will be spent on purchasing a variety of equipment, products, and supplies to enable a varied scheme of projects to run across Autism East Midlands flexible day service centres across the county.
Autism Can! will provide support to our service users to progress towards independence, including employment. Autism Can! provides work-related activities tailored to our 200 service users (people with autism with complex needs) within horticulture, art and design and cooking / catering. Autism Can! will provide short work tasters, starting at 15 minutes for those with the most complex needs, with the end goal of progression towards a vocational qualification and employment within partner social enterprises.
The work tasters will include horticulture propagating and maintaining a variety of plants and vegetables, which are then used internally for service user meals or sold by selected service users at partner garden centres to broaden their understanding of the workplace. Art and design will include designing t-shirts and other clothing, then printing and producing the items and packaging them for distribution. Catering and cleaning, including production of simple seasonal food items for sale to staff and parents, with progression towards preparation of meals for themselves and peers.
The Autism Can! project arose from our Service User Voice programme, which asked service users what they wanted to see in their daily activities and what aspirations they had for their future development. Many service users expressed an interest in understanding employment and progressing towards independence. The project will enhance existing day service activities and will be led by vocationally qualified existing staff.
James Jenning’s Autism East Midlands Enterprise Lead added:
“People’s Postcode Lottery grant will make a massive difference to Autism East Midlands’ commitment to improving the quality of life for people with autism. We will now be able to create workplaces and therapeutic work activity in horticulture and art and design, which will allow service users to develop workplace skills and experience, helping them on their way towards independence.”