Demand for the charity’s services has doubled since the start of the pandemic
Scottish Autism has been awarded £100,000 from Barclays to support autistic people and their families who have been impacted by the pandemic.
The charity, Scotland’s largest provider of autism-specific services, will use the funds to create a new online coaching and counselling service to support autistic people and their families through Covid-19 and help them transition to a new normal when lockdown and social distancing measures eventually come to an end.
Earlier this summer, Scottish Autism reported a 101% increase in enquiries to its Autism Advice Line since lockdown came into effect. It also forecast a loss of half its annual income from the cancellation of fundraising and supporters’ events due to the pandemic.
The new service, hoped to be launched by November, is being developed by Scottish Autism in association with long term partners of the charity, including a number of leading autism consultants and practitioners.
Barclays is providing financial support through its £100 million Community Aid Package, which supports charities helping people and communities impacted by Covid-19. Since launching in April, £10m of this funding has been donated through the 100x100 UK Covid-19 Community Relief Programme, with Scottish Autism among 100 UK charities that have each been granted £100,000 to enable their important work to continue.
Charlene Tait, deputy CEO of Scottish Autism said: “We are extremely grateful for Barclays’ generous support through its 100x100 UK Covid-19 Community Relief Programme. Since this crisis began, we have seen a spike in demand for our services as many autistic individuals and their families have struggled to cope with the significant changes to their lives brought on by lockdown and social distancing measures.
“We are now developing our new online coaching and counselling service, which will provide critical support for many autistic individuals and their families throughout Scotland. From the outset we will work with individuals and families to empower them to set their own goals and priorities to address some of the challenges that the pandemic has had upon their mental health and wellbeing whilst supporting them with the transition back to school or work beyond Covid-19.”
Scott Stewart, Head of Barclays Scotland, added: “This crisis has had an unprecedented impact across Scotland and we know this is an incredibly challenging time for many communities.
“Scottish Autism provides vital support to autistic people and their families, support which is more important than ever due to the effects of this pandemic. We hope that the donations we are making to charities across Scotland, including Scottish Autism, will allow them to amplify their vital work and support more people as the crisis develops.”