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Autism group becomes a registered charity

Autism group becomes a registered charity

An autism support group set up by two mothers in Inverness after finding a lack of support for their children is now an official charity, just one year on.

Inverness mothers Joanne Paterson and Valerie Lee set up Friends of Autism Highland (FAH) in response to the low level of help available for them.

It started as a coffee morning for parents, grew into a online group for parents and carers to ask questions and share support. It now has 136 members and has been granted charitable status.

The group plans to hold its first official fundraising charity event on Sunday at Grebe Hall, Drakies, Inverness, to help finance further support and activities for autistic children in the region, including pony trekking, crafts and beach outings.

Cash raised at the Easter fun day will be split between FAH and Children in the Highlands Information Point (Chip +) based at Raigmore Hospital, both of which support children with autism and additional needs and their families.

FAH secretary, Joanne Paterson, said: “A lot of our members find Friends of Autism Highland a huge help, especially after their child is diagnosed, which can be a frightening time where many experience feelings of isolation.

“Children who have autism are all different as the condition has such a broad spectrum.

“However, the one thing our children do have in common is that they see the world differently which results in them struggling significantly with some of the everyday tasks and situations which other youngsters have no problem with.”

She added: “Our Easter fun day is exciting as it is our first organised fundraising event as a charity and the group members have been putting lots of effort into preparing for it.

“It is truly going to be fabulous, and I would like to urge all families to come along and support these two great causes – whether or not you are affected by autism or additional support needs.”

The event is open to all children and entry costs £2 per child which includes an Easter egg and craft activities.

Planned activities include an Easter egg hunt, kids arts and crafts, a bouncy castle and face painting as well as craft stalls.

The event takes place between 11am and 3pm.

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