A FIVE-YEAR project to support Redditch teenagers and young adults with autism has received a massive £319,749 Big Lottery Fund grant.
The money, secured by Your Ideas in Matchborough, is for their ‘Spectrum Red’ group of 15 to 25-year-olds, combating isolation and building friendships both inside and outside the club.
“This is great news for the young people,” said lead youth and community worker Imogen Morris. “The directors had to put in a very detailed application for the grant and there’s always the potential of you ending up with nothing, so we are very pleased.
“If we hadn’t got the money we would have had to narrow down or even close a few of our groups.”
Your Ideas is a hidden gem tucked away in Dilwyn Close, yet more than 100 young people come through its doors every week, with more than 40 on its waiting list. Of these, 50 to 60 are in the 15 to 25 age bracket who will benefit from the grant.
“We do varies kinds of support work, helping them in every way we can,” said Imogen, who started out as a volunteer.
“We also work closely with their families, ensuring they know what they are entitled to and helping them understand the condition.”
The Spectrum Red group builds friendships and Friday night is club night when they can get together and socialise.
Your Ideas has a tight knit team of two full-time workers, a receptionist, four to five session workers and a host of volunteers.
“The way we get our name out there is by word of mouth, partner agencies, schools and colleges,” said Imogen. “There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what a person with autism is like because the spectrum is so huge – you can’t just put it in a box and label it.