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(UK) Autism provider expects 200% increase in young people accessing services by 2026

April 19, 2024, Shield Gazette: New youth hub launching for young people with additional needs thanks to £600k [$742K] funding

NE England

A new youth hub is to open for youngsters aged 14-25 with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) thanks to major funding of almost £600,000 [$742K].

AutismAble is a service for neurodivergent people, specialising in autism, learning disabilities and complex disabilities with multiple needs. They work with their members to support them to achieve their ambitions. Whether someone requires 1:1 support, navigates life independently, or falls somewhere in between, their mission remains the same – to enable, empower and enrich.

There’s a growing demand for support for young people with autism in South Shields, especially having access to specialist services to help young people thrive, develop life skills and to learn the skills they need to secure fulfilling work opportunities.

AustimAble needed a new Youth Hub to help them support more young people. The starting point was purchasing an old run-down building that they could easily afford. But securing funding for its renovation was a huge challenge, and they initially thought change would be slow and incremental.

However, thanks to a timely grant, they were able to secure £598,870.00 for capital refurbishment and revenue growth, which includes the creation of two new youth roles as well as expanding the capacity of existing staff, which meant they could do full steam ahead in transforming their youth space at pace.

The newly transformed Youth Hub will open its doors to young people on Monday, 22 April offering some free taster sessions.

The grant enabled AutsimAble to renovate and extend their building on Fowler Street, including developing a training café, woodwork facility, media and film studios and offices. It’s now a sustainable and fully accessible space with lift facilities, making it more accessible for those with disabilities or additional access needs.

The space will give young people access to some fantastic new activities including filmmaking, photography, and music sessions. . . .

Young people have been at the heart of the new Youth Hub’s development. Alongside co- creating the hub’s look, feel and activities and feeding into the design plans, one of the things young people have loved is developing the Youth Hub’s branding. . . . 

The new Youth Hub will host its official launch party on Friday, 17 May and AutismAble anticipates a 200% growth in the number of young people accessing their services by 2026. The impact will be transformational. . . . 

Sarah Windle, Youth and Outreach Provision Team Leader added: “The whole team at AutismAble were absolutely thrilled to hear that we were awarded funding to develop our youth space.

“All of the staff have such a strong passion for supporting neurodivergent young people and this funding not only gives us the opportunity to work with and meet more amazing young people, it is also really validating to know that so many other people really believe in what we do and what we offer.

“We are so excited to share this beautiful space with our community and we can’t wait to see how the young people will shape it into a place they can call their own”.



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