Vital service under threat

a LIFELINE service for people with autism in Belper is at risk of folding because of Government cuts.

The Derbyshire Autism Services Group (DASG) helps 52 families in the Belper area that are affected by autism.

Another 23 families are on its waiting list.

But those families could miss out on essential help because of financial cuts imposed on DASG due to Government cutbacks.

Now the service, which works with people as young as three to 86, is desperately looking for any help which will enable it to continue providing its essential services.

Margaret Reeve, a founder member of the charity, which is based in Ripley, said: “We are struggling and we could go under.

“It is a very worrying time.

“We will continue to provide as many services as we can to as many people as we can.”

DASG offers vital support to people with autism and their families. It has 27 staff and volunteers and offers home visits, advice over the phone, leisure activities, residential weekends, or just gives parents a break from caring for family members.

“We are a vital service,” said Margaret. “We have been described as a lifeline.

“For some families, we are the only support they have got.

“Autism is a very, very complex condition. For example, we can teach a child with autism to order something in McDonald’s, but it doesn’t mean they will be able to order the same thing in Burger King.

“So much time and effort goes into caring for someone with autism.”

The DASG is desperate for help. If you can sponsor a member of staff or one of their events, do a fundraiser in aid of them, or provide a venue for them to use, then ring them on 01773 741221.

Margaret added: “If someone were to donate a venue that we could convert to our needs, that would be brilliant.”