I suppose you could argue that we could have turned ourselves into a charity and raised the money to give us a roof over our heads years ago. It’s not that we never thought about doing that, we did. And while it might sound lame to say that we just never had the time, it also happens to be the truth.
Over the last 15 years we have supported, in some way shape or form and hopefully meaningfully, around 300 parents, carers and adults living with autism. Not all of them live in Sunderland, but the majority do. Some people we only see once or twice. Some we have been supporting for several years. We now have a generation of children who have grown into teens and adults and that are why we are marching on. The needs of our teens and adults have got to be accepted and acted on.
On Thursday while we were celebrating finding a home, and a very nice home it is too, we were also doing what we do on a daily basis and supporting people living with autism. That included attending a PIP assessment with an adult who has autism. Spending an hour on the phone to a professional while we tried to obtain some professional support for an adult with autism, and a two hour meeting with another adult with autism and a professional.
Now we have a base we are going to make the effort to raise the funding that we need to do some of the things that we would like to do. But supporting parents, carers and adults with autism will always be our number one AIM, and absolutely everything that we do from our new home will be underpinned by adults who have autism.
Thursday was an important day for AIM and it would be wrong not to thank some of the people who made Thursday possible for us. Thank you to Pauline and Debbie who have been flying the autism flag in Sunderland LA for the last 5 years, you two ladies helped to turn our dreams into a reality. Also thank you to John and his wonderful team at Fulwell Community Resource Centre. You have welcomed us with open arms and it really does feel like home.
Thanks also to Chris Mitchell and Matthew Rutherford for being brave enough to speak to television cameras. You did us proud and brought a tear to my eye. Thank you to Made in Tyne and Wear for coming along on the day and covering our momentous, for us, event. And many thanks to Nicola for making us with the best cake ever!!
So what next for AIM – well watch this space because you ain’t seen nothing yet!