New partnership aims to transform autism services in Scottish Borders

A new partnership between the charity Scottish Autism and Borders ASN (Additional Support Needs) Parent Carer Forum has been announced which aims to raise understanding of autism in the Scottish Borders and improve the lives of local autistic people and their families.

The project involving the two organisations has secured funding for one year from Scottish Borders Health and Social Care Partnership, and the Borders Council, to support project costs. This includes the appointment of a new Autism Community Coordinator.

The aim of the project is to work with organisations, statutory services, community groups and the autistic community in the local area to build capacity within their service design and delivery. The project will put a strong focus on ensuring autistic people are involved in decision making and setting priorities for local service delivery.

As part of the project, Scottish Autism will share their knowledge and expertise to enable and promote better understanding of autism and provide training and support across a range of local stakeholders, including third sector bodies. It will also assess pre and post diagnostic support available to autistic children and adults in the Borders to identify gaps in service provision and connect autistic individuals to national initiatives which can help enhance their quality of life.

Scottish Autism is Scotland’s largest provider of autism-specific services and a leading authority and advocate for good autism practice. Borders ASN Parent Carer Forum is a collaborative partnership between Borders Additional Needs and Meeting of Minds, which represent parents and carers of children with additional support needs in the Scottish Borders.

Scottish Autism Deputy CEO, Charlene Tait, said: “We’re delighted to announce this new partnership focused on improving service design and delivery for autistic people and their families in the Borders.  This project is a real catalyst for change and as an organisation we strive to create sustainable societal change that will enable autistic people to be included and valued in their communities, and to lead the life they choose.  We look forward to working alongside Borders ASN Parent Carer Forum to deliver this project.”

Pauline Grigor, CEO at Borders Additional Needs Group said: “This new partnership is designed to support positive change that will deliver significant benefits to the autistic community throughout the Borders. It enables us to build regional capacity from the voices of autistic people and their carers. We look forward to working closely with Scottish Autism as we look to improve local service design and delivery to further enhance the lives of autistic people and their families.”

Rob McCulloch-Graham Chief Officer of the Integration Joint Board at Borders Health and Social Care Partnership said; “I am delighted we have been able to support this important work further here within the Borders. I am looking forward to strengthening the Health and Social Care Partnership’s links with both local and national leads in this work. Together we will improve the lives of autistic individuals and their families.”