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Wednesday, 01 April 2015

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New support group for autistic people in Cumbria

A new support group for children with autism and their families is being set up.

Autism centre photo
James Lindsley

It is one of three innovative ideas from University of Cumbria graduates to win financial backing in a ‘Dragons Den’ style competition.

Emma Gibbon, a past volunteer and now a new member of staff at Action for Children in Workington, is using the £500 she secured from Rathbone Investment Management to establish the support group.

She graduated from the University of Cumbria earlier this month.

During research for her foundation degree, Emma saw there was a gap for better support services for families of young people with autism.

She went on to submit an application to Rathbones’ four-man innovation fund panel to get the money to help cover start-up costs.

The new support network will initially be based in Workington and rolled out across the district in the future with support from Action for Children.

Panellist James Lindsley, from Rathbones, said: “The students all made excellent cases for their project to be funded.

“The three projects that were ready to go live were awarded £500 each. I was impressed by the students’ attitude, enthusiasm and determination to achieve something that they knew was important to their communities.”

Emma was one of nine University of Cumbria students to graduate from the three-year foundation degree in professional practice for business earlier. Three more aim to graduate later this year.

The course is part of the Aspiring Leaders Programme. The first of its kind, it has been funded by the Francis C Scott Charitable Trust, and was delivered by Brathay Trust, University of Cumbria and Common Purpose.

Created specifically for the voluntary and community sector, it aims to bring about a fundamental shift in the leadership capacity of the sector across Cumbria and Lancashire.

The grant provided by Rathbones marks the start of a three-year partnership it has with the Brathay Trust. Rathbones has pledged to provide financial awareness training to support community enterprise projects.


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