Short breaks fund for autistic adults

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Families in the Highlands and Islands are being encouraged to apply to a new £100,000 fund which has been set up to help the parents and carers of autistic adults to have fun, relax and take a much-needed break from their caring roles.

Over the next year, more than 250 families in Scotland will benefit from the Autism Short Breaks Project, delivered by Autism Initiatives, the National Autistic Society Scotland and Scottish Autism.

The leading autism charities are encouraging families in the Highlands and Islands to be indulgent, adventurous and creative when planning their short break.

Jenny Paterson, director of the National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “It’s not possible to look after someone else if you’re not looking after yourself, that’s why short breaks for carers are so important.

“We support amazing individuals who start their day at 7am by washing and dressing the person they care for, and get to bed after midnight.

“They don’t have a lot of time to themselves, so we want to make sure the breaks they do have are really special.”

Carers in the Highlands and Islands are being encouraged to apply for the first round of funding from the Autism Short Breaks Project before 22 January 2016 by visiting autismshortbreaks.org.uk. Grants of up to £300 are available.

Richard Ibbotson, national director at Autism Initiatives, said: “This fund can be used to go on a trip, buy equipment for a hobby, try something for the first time or go back to something they haven’t been able to do for a long while. It’s really flexible. You decide when, where and what you want to do, and we’ll make it happen!”

Funding for the Autism Short Breaks Project comes from the Creative Breaks Fund and is provided by the Scottish Government. In total, the programme has awarded just under £1million to 68 projects from Orkney to the Scottish Borders, which will collectively benefit more than 4,000 carers and their families.

Alan Somerville, chief executive of Scottish Autism, added: “We are very pleased that the Scottish Government has created this fund and asked Scotland’s three leading autism charities to manage it. We know how challenging caring for an adult with autism can be, and we are pleased to be working together to give families an important break.”

Autism Short Breaks Project funding applies to families and carers of an adult with autism (over 16 years of age). The carer may be someone under the age of 16.

To find out more and make an application visit: website