An Aylesbury Vale charity that provides specialist early support for pre-school children with autism and their families has been awarded over £70,000 in funding to become future-fit.
Autism Early Support has secured a grant of just over £70,000 from the CAF Resilience Fund, which was created to help the people and causes hardest hit by Covid-19.
Autism Early Support - formerly known as The Puzzle Centre - runs a specialist nursery, called the Circle Centre, in Middle Claydon, and also offers assessment and support services for families both at home or in their child’s educational setting.
Its offices are in Buckingham.
Spokesperson Sarah Sweet-Rowley said: “We are very grateful to accept this key piece of grant funding to help us support our community as we rebuild from the pandemic.
"This funding is a vote of confidence in our work, our purpose and our determination to improve the lives of the people we exist to support.”
The grant will enable the charity to build and develop a web-based hub for families and practitioners, with 24-hour access to training, practical strategies and a multi-media library of practical resources, enabling it to make a difference to more families and support more children with autism and social communication needs.
The funding for the CAF Resilience Fund was provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Community Match Challenge funding scheme, part of the government’s £750 million coronavirus support package for charities.
The matched funding was provided by the Covid-19 Support Fund, created by the insurance and long-term savings industry.
In late 2020 and early 2021, the first phase of the CAF Resilience Fund provided rapid relief to 645 charities in England to help them survive the initial shock of the pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
For this second phase, CAF identified organisations working with those communities hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic - including those helping people living with disabilities; black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; and young people in need of new training and skills in order to give them the best possible life chances.
This phase, totalling £20 million, is designed to help charities move beyond survival and help them adapt and rebuild so they are able to look to the future and thrive.
Executive lead for the Covid-19 Support Fund, Yvonne Braun, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, charities and communities throughout the UK have come together to support those most in need.
"We are thrilled that, through the partnership between the Covid-19 Support Fund, CAF and the DCMS Community Match Challenge, that the insurance and long-term savings industry has been able to support the work of Autism Early Support so that they can continue their vital work.”
Monica Brown, of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “In delivering the CAF Resilience Fund, we have been both humbled and inspired by the work that is happening on the ground in our local communities.
"We are proud to partner with both the government and the Covid-19 Support Fund to provide this unique support for some of our country’s most vulnerable communities.
"Congratulations to Autism Early Support and our sincere thanks for all that you are doing.”
Find out more about Autism Early Support at autismearlysupport.org.uk