Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity

 ‘All things Autism’ Anna’s guests this week at Women’s Radio was Neeraj Sharma from Daisy Chain

Anna Kennedy’s guests this week on Women’s Radio Station was Neeraj Sharma from Daisy Chain. ‘All things Autism and life in Lockdown’ will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.  Please see www.womensradiostation.com

​This is Neeraj’s story: Neeraj, who has trained as a solicitor and spent the last seven years at the helm of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Darlington, has been able to bring his skills, knowledge and talents to Daisy Chain.

Neeraj had a major impact on Citizens Advice Darlington bringing in sources of revenue and establishing relationships with the community, funders and stakeholders. He introduced a range of new services including the introduction of asocial isolation programme for older people as well as a youth employability programme for those aged 16 to 30.

Neeraj Sharma

Neeraj said: ‘My work has centred on ensuring that struggling families and individuals are supported to overcome key developmental barriers through access to free advice, information, advocacy and training. It is important that families and individuals access all the support they are entitled to so they can have the best possible life outcomes.

Up until now, my work has been with people who have been deprived of the support they need and have reached crisis point. I seek to harness the skills that I have acquired working in a rights based arena and redeploy these to field of autism support services provided by Daisy Chain.

‘The Daisy Chain day centre, farm and outdoor activity spaces provide a vital safe haven and productive platform for both children and adults. I am delighted to be tasked with the opportunity to expand upon the beneficial and vital autism based support services across the Tees Valley.’

About Daisy Chain

Daisy Chain Project’s mission is to improve the lives of families affected by autism across the Tees Valley and surrounding areas.

Daisy Chain is a 5.5 acre site:

  1. Day & Learning Centre – state of the art sensory equipment
  2. Therapeutic Farm
  3. Sensory Play Gardens
  4. Polytunnel and Eco-environmental growth areas for Adults with Autism

We provide:

  1. Respite
  2. Activity Clubs
  3. Independent Living Skills Training & Employability Scheme
  4. Schools placement programme in accordance with Schools across the Tees Valley
  5. Training and support programmes for Families,
  6. Accredited training for Schools, Employers, Businesses

Annually, we offer

  1. Loss of routine
  2. Sensory Issues (such as sensory overload within the home….panic buying leading to loss of food types where those individual not being able to access food which meets their sensory needs)
  3. Extreme loneliness and Isolation
Daisy chain sensory
‘The Daisy Chain day centre, farm and outdoor activity spaces provide a vital safe haven and productive platform for both children and adults. I am delighted to be tasked with the opportunity to expand upon the beneficial and vital autism based support services across the Tees Valley.’
Daisy Chain

More About Daisy Chain

In response to National lockdown we launched a support line for families and Young Period.  To date we have supported over 1800 calls and rising.

Callers can access the support line by calling:  The telephone support service is on freephone number 0800 031 5445

Our telephone and virtual support service offers individuals and those around them access to a specialist team who provide signposting, bespoke visual resources, personalised family support and bespoke strategies and interventions, alongside being a listening service.

This support is offered over the phone and by video-conference, giving families access to the advice and information that they would otherwise be missing out on at this time, and is in response to the increased demand identified during and following the first lockdown.

As a charity we have sustained mammoth £400,000 financial losses due to closure of our Superstore on Protract Lane, Cessation of our Training and Fundraising Income.

Coming out of lockdown has not been a straightforward proposition, we have seen an increase in acute support needs at a time when we are seeing a loss of 20% of our income.  Combined with social distancing measures logistically we have had to make many changes in order to operate.

Daisychainstore.co.uk   – “Launched”

Following the significant and detrimental financial impact of the first national lockdown earlier in 2020 which led to the closure of the charity’s superstore which sells high-quality donated items including clothing, furniture and household goods we launched a new initiative.   Daisy Chain Store, an online shop selling high-end clothing giving customers nationally the opportunity to grab a bargain while helping us recoup lost funds caused by the pandemic.

The online fashion platform for designer and vintage items features brands such as Valentino, Dior and Versace, and is an expansion of our online offer which also includes a presence on Depop and eBay in addition to our social media accounts.

Fundraising – “Win a Wedding”

As part of our fight back campaign we have launched a fundraising initiative:

We’re offering couples the opportunity to win a complete wedding package in return for raising £500 for Daisy Chain, vital income to allow us to continue supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the North East.

We’re hoping it will give a couple who may not otherwise be able to tie the knot the opportunity to do so, and as we know so many people’s weddings have been impacted this year, we’ve opened it up to people who have been married since 23rd March to give them the opportunity to have the ‘do’ that they have missed out on due to lockdown and restrictions.

You can find out more about the competition here: www.daisychainproject.co.uk/win-a-wedding

Daisy Chain Store

Following the significant and detrimental financial impact of the first national lockdown earlier in 2020 which led to the closure of the charity’s superstore which sells high-quality donated items including clothing, furniture and household goods we launched a new initiative.

Daisy Chain Store, an online shop selling high-end clothing giving customers nationally the opportunity to grab a bargain while helping us recoup lost funds caused by the pandemic.

The online fashion platform for designer and vintage items features brands such as Valentino, Dior and Versace, and is an expansion of our online offer which also includes a presence on Depop and eBay in addition to our social media accounts.

Click here for the website   

Fundraising – “Win a Wedding” 

As part of our fight back campaign we have launched a fundraising initiative:

We’re offering couples the opportunity to win a complete wedding package in return for raising £500 for Daisy Chain, vital income to allow us to continue supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the North East.

We’re hoping it will give a couple who may not otherwise be able to tie the knot the opportunity to do so, and as we know so many people’s weddings have been impacted this year, we’ve opened it up to people who have been married since 23rd March to give them the opportunity to have the ‘do’ that they have missed out on due to lockdown and restrictions.

You can find out more about the competition: Click here for details

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News Anna’s guests this week at Women’s Radio – Neeraj Sharma from Daisy Chain