Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity

Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Michelle Seddon from Autism Together

Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Michelle Seddon.
‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.  Please see www.womensradiostation.com

It was a pleasure to chat to Anna, it was my first radio interview and I’ll admit to being more than a little nervous. But Anna put me at ease straight away and the time flew by so fast I realised I hadn’t said half the things I’d planned to! I thought it might also be useful to recap some of the points we talked about as well as give you a bit more information about Autism Together.

Autism Together is a registered charity, formed in 1968 when a group of parents established The Wirral Society for Autistic Children, which later became Autism Together. So, we have been going for over 50 years- I think our values come for those early parents. One of the first parents- Mr John Brady refused to pay his rates as he felt his son was being failed by the local council.

He was threatened with a prison sentence and his appeal made it all the way to the house of commons – apparently the first time Autism has been mentioned there!  He banded together a group of parents who felt the same founding the Wirral society for Autistic children.

The raised funds to buy and refit Raby hall- this took over 10 years but in 1977 Raby Hall opened its doors to 6 people. John passed away in 2006, His Son Shaun who lived with us until his death in 2020 had lived a very happy life on Raby site for 43 years, the incredible legacy left by John and those early pioneering parents.

In 1980 we went through a name change as the individuals living with us were no longer children. We changed to Wirral Autistic Society and even through we’ve changed our name again in 2015 to Autism Together people still often refer to us as WAS. A specialist provider, we provided a huge range of services from Residential care homes, respite through to Supported living, domiciliary care, day services, work opportunities, right through to family support and play and youth groups and training.

https://www.autismtogether.co.uk/

What do we do?

We still have Raby hall, its gone through many refits over the years, as Raby Hall is set on large beautiful grounds, we were able to build a number of residential services, our respite service and our Kitchen Garden and farm day services are all based here. We have also set us services in the local community in Bromborough and as far afield as Wrexham.

We support around 400 people and employ around 1000 staff.  We can also provide training and support to families and others; we have provided some training for local police and fire brigade as well as working with football clubs and community champions.

We also help to run the river park in collaboration with Land Trust. Opening in 2014 it’s a closed landfill site that’s been transformed into a 28-hectare park with walks, wildlife and wetland areas and spectacular views of the river greatly appreciate by the local community. We are currently raising funds for a defib We have also been fundraising to get a defibrillator installed at our Port Sunlight River Park site: www.aeddonate.org.uk/projects/autism-together/

I look after our residential services, we have 20 registered care homes, and I’m supported by an experienced knowledgeable and all-around amazing team of 7 registered mangers, whose efforts over the past 20 months have been nothing short of super human!

At Autism Together our philosophy remains firmly rooted in a belief that:

  • We begin with what people can do, not with what they can’t do, by listening to each individual and acknowledging that they are the expert in their autism.
  • Our support begins with the person, along with a shared understanding of what is important to them and what their strengths and needs are.
  • Our support approaches are individualised so that staff can meet each person’s communication needs.

Adopting Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) accredited by Bild (British Institute of learning Disabilities) back in 2018, this model fitted so well with our existing values and has given us a clear framework to follow when supporting people.

How can you help us?

We have a charity abseil planned for 26th September Batron Square Trafford centre Manchester, you can opt to Abseil yourself or sponsor someone who’s’ already signed up for the challenge. I completed an Abseil down Liverpool cathedral back in 2018! Terrified didn’t even come close! But we supported each other and went over the top like pro’s, Cried and screamed our way down! But we did it! Funds raised from the Abseil will go towards additional services and equipment for the people we support.

SMILE amazon

We also have an online eBay shop where the people we support are able to sell their amazing products, you’ll find a lot of unique items here. https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/autismtogether

Our Amazon wish list has items that the people we support, and their staff have picked- lots of low-cost high impact things to pick here, as well as some larger wish list items.

This has really helped our guys through the various lockdowns.

You can also add us on SMILE amazon- basically this means every time you make a purchase through Amazon they donate on your behalf- even if you don’t pick Autism Together, please do this for a charity that’s local to you.

It doesn’t cost you a penny and charities like ours can really benefit from it. Details here https://www.autismtogether.co.uk/donate/   as well as some other ways to donate.

On a final note,

The past 20 or so months have been incredibly hard on everyone, throwing up challenges and frustrations in equal measure. I’d like to end with a huge thank you to our staff teams across all our services who have been simply outstanding. Their commitment passion and dedication has been inspiring.

They arrived everyday not knowing what they may face while carrying the burden of their own worries and fears, supporting people to manage impossible situations and being creative with their solutions. Adapting and rising to every single challenge and hurdle. You are all amazing!

Thank you, Anna, for the opportunity to talk about Autism Together.

Take care of yourselves out there, and if you’ve able to, remember to take care of each other too.

Michelle

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NewsAnna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Michelle Seddon from Autism Together