Autism Berkshire’s AGM looks to the future

Autism Berkshire’s 2016 annual general meeting heard a number of suggestions for possible new support services.

Among them was a proposal to develop a scheme to help autistic adults into employment, including developing relationships with local employers.

Other ideas included more help for children who are less verbal, such as music therapy, sports activities and a programme of social skills workshops for children and teenagers with autism.

In his report to the meeting, held at St Laurence Church in the centre of Reading on Friday, December 2, Autism Berkshire’s joint chair of trustees, Matthew Cleaver, said: “We concentrated on expansion of our services in 2015-16, particularly in the east of the county, at all stages pre- and post-assessment, and worked to expand provision for all ages, both children and adults, and also for hard-to-reach families who may not be as aware of what’s on offer from us as others who find it easier to access information.

“Demand for our services, whether from individuals or from commissioning groups or local authorities, has never been greater. I would suggest that’s something that’s set to continue.

“As you can see from the Annual Review, we have been successful at both winning contracts and fundraising.

“We have had some good success there but we operate in an environment that is extremely challenging, with increasing demands at a time of cutbacks in provision all round. I expect it is going to remain a very tricky situation for us and other charities.”

The meeting also heard about our 25th anniversary heritage project, Autism in Berkshire: Past and Present and those attending were able to see the full exhibition produced as a result of the project.

A motion updating the articles of association for the purposes of registration with the Charity Commission was approved by votes from members at the meeting and proxy votes.

Pictured above at the AGM are members of staff and trustees, from left, West Berkshire home visit support worker Amanda Walker, programme manager Tracey Banahan, grants officer Sarah Snow, finance manager Tony Walker, chief executive officer Jane Stanford-Beale, joint chair of trustees Matthew Cleaver, administrator Claire Finnerty and trustee Sandra Stubbs.