Lifeline organisation faces closure by March if funding can't be found
A charity for autistic children is facing closure after a £405,000 funding bid was rejected by the Big Lottery.
The Tailor Ed Foundation, which offers vital practical support to autistic children and their families, had hoped to secure the cash to continue its work in Edinburgh.
Some 200 families seek help from the charity but it needs at least £100,000 cash injection immediately to avert closure.
Project manager Roo Philip said the organisation was now depending on other applications to keep it afloat.
“We have a little bit of time to try and come up with a contingency plan and figure out a way forward and we are putting all of our effort and energy into securing new funding.
“The fund was needed to cover our core costs for the next three years in order to continue our work and allow us to re-open to referrals. We’re all devastated by this news as not only does it prevent us from making the improvements to our services we’d hoped to but it puts our whole survival in jeopardy.”
Should cash not be found the charity will be forced to start wind-up proceedings at the end of March. This would trigger a three month process where the foundation would conclude its intervention work with children and families and plan handovers to other services.
Service user Elizabeth Anderton said Tailor Ed had changed her life. Her 14-year-old son William has severe learning disabilities and autism and Elizabeth said without the charity’s intervention, he wouldn’t be able to live at home.
“He would be in some sort of special home and as mother I wouldn’t have recovered from that. I cried when I heard the news – not so much for me but for other families.”
The charity provides hyper-practical solutions which Elizabeth said transformed their lives. “William can now use sign language, he can put his shoes on, he can visit the dentist. These were all things that nobody seemed to be able to tell us how to do.
"We were just drowning before Tailor Ed stepped in. They actually get down and work with your child and then they fix it.
“As a parent, as a member of the public and as a taxpayer I feel genuinely devastated that something so successful and so special is going to be lost.”
A Big Lottery Fund spokesperson said: “We fully understand how disappointing this news will be for the Tailor Ed Foundation and all the families who benefit from its valuable work. We have supported the Tailor Ed Foundation with almost £1 million over the last nine years, however National Lottery funding is always a time limited source of financial support.
"The competitive nature of our funding also means that we cannot fund every application that we receive. On this occasion, we had almost double the value of applications under consideration than our available budget.”
The charity has launched a donations drive as well as urging service users and supporters to raise the issue with their MSP.