The money you donate can help us change the lives of local people living with autism for the better.


We would like to show you some of our wonderful life-changing projects which you have helped to make possible.


Autism has Bikeability


About the project

Our Bikeability project is all about helping people with autism to become active in their local community by promoting independence through cycling. We fundraised for new bikes, trikes, maintenance equipment, a bike shed and Bikeability training, which will be available to the children and young people at Portfield School and Life Skills.

Bikeability is an initiative run by the Department for Transport, which aims to help people gain practical skills and an understanding of how to cycle on today’s roads. Wessex CTC kindly provided us with two places to train two of our teachers to become Bikeability trainers.

With this project, we hope to open up local communities to people with autism who live in Dorset. Many of the people we support may never be able to drive. By providing them with a means of transport and training from as young as 3 years old, right through to our school leavers, we hope to make it possible for them to access the amenities, leisure activities and social hubs in their areas.

How much was needed

To complete this project, we needed to fundraise £8,069, and we are incredibly excited to confirm that the full amount has been raised. We are hugely grateful to everyone who made this possible, with a particularly special thank you to Postcode Community Trust, Wessex CTC, and our cycling fundraisers who took part in Gridiron 100 to raise money.

Updates on the project

Since raising the money, we have purchased some of our new bikes and trikes, and we are in the process of purchasing the remainder ready for our students to use.

Two of our teachers have completed their Bikeability training and they are now ready to teach the children how to ride safely on today’s roads.

On Saturday 18th January 2020, our new bike shed was built at Portfield School, ready for all of our new bikes to be stored!





Horse Riding Therapy


About the project

Our Horse Riding Therapy project has been created to allow us to offer sessions to all of the people who directly use our services, either as an educational tool, or as a leisure activity.

Many people with autism have a natural affinity with animals. Communication can be a key difficulty for people with autism and animals communicate in more subtle, non-verbal ways. Horses in particular are proven to have calming effects on some of the more challenging behaviours that people with autism may display.

Horse Riding Therapy has already proven incredibly valuable to the people we support. We are so grateful to be able to continue such a brilliant activity.

How much was needed

To complete this project, we needed to fundraise £14,365, and we can confirm that the full amount has been raised. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who made this project happen. We are now able to offer sessions to all of our service users for one year. This means that every person we support is able to access this wonderful opportunity.

Updates on the project

Since raising the full amount our students at Portfield School have attended Horse Riding Therapy as part of their curriculum, some of the people we look after in the community have attended with our support, and our residents within our residential houses have attended as part of their leisure activities.




Sensory Multi-Use Games Area (SMUGA)


About the project

Our Sensory Multi-Use Games Area project has been created after the teachers at Portfield School identified the need for an area where our students could play sports in a safe and fit-for-purpose environment, as our current facilities are not suitable.

For indoor sports activities, the children currently have to use the school hall, which is also used for assemblies, school lunches, and is the entrance to the swimming pool. The only facility for sports outdoors is a grass field with no markings, and an unsuitable surface for running and track.

The SMUGA has been designed with our children in mind, to help create an enjoyable sports experience. There will be:

  • Noise cancelling fences to minimise the risk of loud noises if balls or other equipment hit the sides.
  • A track with two lanes for a student and their support worker to run alongside each other.
  • Minimal busy lines on the pitch to avoid confusion and stress.
  • A specially designed surface with an accessible pathway.
  • The SMUGA will be positioned away from the school building to reduce the level of disruption.

Sports and exercise can be key in reducing some of the challenging behaviours associated with autism. Our hope for the SMUGA is to aid personal and educational development for our children, but also to be able to offer the fantastic facilities to other local charities and community groups out of school hours.

How much was needed

To complete the SMUGA project we needed to fundraise £85,000. We are very excited to confirm that the full amount has been successfully raised and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who made this project happen.

Updates on the project

Now that the full amount has been raised, we hope to begin building the SMUGA during the Easter holiday break in April. The SMUGA will be built and complete over these two weeks to ensure that our children are not onsite and will not face any disruption from the building works.

We will regularly update this page as the SMUGA is being built.





Thank you for helping to make these life-changing projects possible.

The projects below are in development and still need funding.


Calm Space at one of our Residential Homes


About the project

The Calm Space project has been developed following a visit from Simon Humphreys who is a leading autism architect in the UK. When visiting one of our residential homes, he highlighted a key change that we could make to our building in order to enhance the lives of the people we are supporting.

We want to create a beautiful, calming, space, which our residents can withdraw to when their environment becomes too overwhelming. The residents at this house have a learning disability, sensory issues, and difficulties with language. We want to address the barriers that they may face when participating in everyday activities, and help to reduce environmental factors such as sounds, sights, and sensations, which may trigger sensory overload or anxiety.

The new room, with its autism friendly features, will improve the personal development and mental wellbeing of the people we support, and their support workers.

How much is needed

To successfully complete this wonderful project, we need to raise £26,004.

Updates on the project

This project has only recently been developed, and as of yet we have not received any funding towards it. We have begun our fundraising but we still need your help.

Donations

Anything you are able to donate towards this fantastic project will make a huge difference to the people we are supporting. If you would like to donate towards our Calm Space, please click below

Donate Here

For more details about this project, please contact us


Bouncing for Brilliance


About the project

Our Bouncing for Brilliance project has been created to allow us to provide the children at Portfield School and Life Skills with fit-for-purpose trampolines.

Trampolining is a therapeutic sports activity, which has many benefits on the children’s wellbeing including a positive impact on their health, education, and concentration levels. The use of trampolines can also aid the development, improvement, and maintenance of motor skills.

The trampolines at Portfield School have previously been used as a tool to teach social skills to the children. Trampolining is a solitary activity, however, if more than one student wants to use the trampoline, it provides a natural opportunity to teach the children skills such as waiting and turn taking.

The trampolines we currently have are some of the most popular equipment amongst our students, however, due to the domestic nature of the equipment they are not suitable for the children to use. We therefore need commercial grade trampolines, which are robust and durable, and allow our children to use them with a support worker or teacher.

How much is needed

We need to fundraise for three trampolines, two of which will be located at Portfield School, and one will be located at our Life Skills site. Each trampoline will cost £7,500, which includes the cost of surfacing and installation.

Updates on the project

In total, we need to raise £22,500. We have currently raised £3,240 towards our project, for which we would like to say a huge thank you to The Percy Bilton Charity.


Donation

Anything you are able to donate towards this fantastic project will make a huge difference to our children and young people. If you would like to donate towards Bouncing for Brilliance, please click below.

Donate Here 

For more details about this project, please contact us


Safe Space Cabin at one of our Residential Homes


About the project

The Safe Space Cabin project has been developed to enable us to provide a secure and safe space, external to the house, for our residents to retreat to at one of our residential homes.

There are four people currently living in the home, all of whom have autism and learning difficulties. Having a safe space separate to the house would mean that visitors, in particular family, could visit and enjoy a private, relaxed environment, and spend quality time with their loved ones. In the main house, this can be difficult to achieve due to the home being occupied by four individuals. Routine is important to the daily life of the people living here, and visitors can sometimes negatively affect the residents, which can mean visits from family end abruptly or have to be shortened.

The Safe Space Cabin would also offer a secure, sensory, environment for the residents to retreat to if they are becoming overwhelmed or anxious in the main home. Alternatively, the cabin could offer a quiet, undisturbed, space for residents to have meetings with support workers or take part in workshops to support education and life skills.

How much is needed

We need to raise £7,500 to complete this project.

Updates on the project

This project is something that has only just been developed, which means we don’t have any funds raised towards it as of yet. We have begun fundraising but we still need your help.

The picture below which illustrates the type of cabin we are proposing to build.

Donation

Anything you are able to donate towards this fantastic project will make a huge difference to the people we support, and their families too. If you would like to donate towards the Safe Space Cabin, please click below.

Donate Here

For more details about this project, please contact us


Model Classroom at Portfield School


About the project

Our Model Classroom project has been created to renovate one of the classrooms at Portfield School to make the interior safer and more autism friendly for those of our students who have highly complex needs.

The renovated classroom will be for our class who have severe sensory issues and little to no spoken language; with the aim of addressing the barriers these children may face when accessing education through classroom based learning. The new classroom hopes to reduce environmental factors such as sounds, sights, and sensations, which can trigger sensory overload, anxiety, hyperactivity, and in some cases aggression.

People with autism can be sensitive to light, colour, and busy patterns. They may also find sound to be very distracting, and it can sometimes cause discomfort and distress. Children with autism can also have difficulties with coordination and general motor skills. They may also fall down or bump into things often. With the model classroom, we hope to overcome these challenges by:

  • Controlling the lighting level in the classroom using non-flickering, warm, and dimmable LED bulbs.
  • Provide a sound insulated room partition, giving teachers the ability to close off a noisy area of the classroom for the students that may be struggling.
  • Redecorating to provide smooth, soft, surfaces to try to help our students concentrate.
  • Removing all carpets and instead providing a soft, hard-wearing, wipe clean floor with a matt finish. This would allow the children to learn and play safely, without the sensory stimuli of reflections, busy patterns and the rough textures of carpet or laminate.
  • We hope this classroom will provide a model for the rest of our school, hence the name Model Classroom.

How much is needed

To complete this project, we need to raise £26,040.46.

Updates on the project

Currently, we have raised a fantastic £24,724 which means we now need to raise a further £1,316.46. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated towards this project so far.







 



Donations

Anything you are able to donate towards this project will make a huge difference to the students in this class. If you would like to donate towards our Model Classroom, please click below.

Donate Here

For more details about this project, please contact us


Autism Wessex is registered in England & Wales under charity number 1000792 at Charity Hub, Portfield School, Parley Lane, Christchurch, BH23 6BP. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website.
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