Autism group faces cash crisis

A VITAL service providing support for youngsters with autism could close if funds are not found to keep it open.

A VITAL service providing support for youngsters with autism could close if funds are not found to keep it open.

Grants that assist the work of Stowmarket ASD Saturday Clubs are running out and more are needed for the group, which is attended by 40 youngsters.

The organisations run two sessions, one for those aged from five to 13 fortnightly and one every four weeks for those aged over 13.

Activities include arts and crafts, computing, sports and games for the younger children and trips out for bowling, roller-skating, and swimming across the region for the older teenagers.

The service costs about �16,000 a year to run and relies on grants to survive, and is coming to the end of a three year award from BBC Children in Need.

Nikki Reynolds, group co-ordinator for both clubs, said: “Most of the children go to school but obviously have social difficulties. At the Saturday clubs they can be themselves, there is a high level of staff support and everything is structured for them to reduce their anxiety.

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“The clubs teach basic social skills and the work of the group is imperative, with all our children having autistic spectrum disorders.”

Mark Lewis, whose six-year-old daughter Molly attends sessions at Childer Road community centre, said the effects for local families would be devastating if the facility closed.

Volunteers are now needed to help with a bag packing fundraising event at Sainsbury's in Bedingfield Way, Bury St Edmunds, on April 11 and anyone who would like to help should contact Mr Lewis on 01359 232507.

If you would like to support the group, or help raise funds, contact the club on 0792 071 4611 or e-mail stowsatclub@hotmail.co.uk

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