£1.5m extra funding for autism


MORE people with autism and their families are set to benefit from initiatives which will make a difference to their lives thanks to a funding boost.

The Autism Development Fund is set to be increased from £1m to £1.5m per year.

Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson said the extra funding was being provided because of the high level of interest from local and national organisations in submitting bids for the fund.

The fund allows organisations to apply for money to take forward initiatives which make a difference to the lives of people with autism and their families.

Organisations have received funding for initiatives such as providing work experience to young people with autism and to support young adults who are moving into independent living.

The Scottish Strategy for Autism was launched last year with £13.4 million over four years to implement its recommendations.

Mr Matheson said: “It’s great news for people with autism and their families that even more projects will receive money thanks to this funding boost.

“I decided to increase the level of funding because the original £1m did not meet demand from the large number of local and national organisations who submitted bids.

“The fund will help us realise our vision –  that individuals on the autism spectrum are respected, accepted and valued by their communities and have confidence in services to treat them fairly so that they are able to have meaningful and satisfying lives.”

The announcement comes ahead of Mr Matheson’s visit tomorrow (Weds) to New Struan School, Alloa, which supports children with autism.

Alan Somerville, CEO, Scottish Autism, said: “We were delighted to work with the Scottish Government in the preparing the strategy for autism and we continue to offer our full support as this is rolled out through projects backed by the autism development fund. It is vital that we build on the great work that is being done across the country by organisations like Scottish Autism to develop a better understanding of autism and ensure we are able to provide the best care and support for those who live with the condition.”