Update from our CEO


"As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, I want to express my immense gratitude to our extraordinary team who are working tirelessly each and every day to keep Autism Wessex 100% open.

I also want to say a huge thank you to you, our supporters. Because of you we have been able to achieve what we set out to do for our children, adults, and their families. You are such an important part of our Autism Wessex family.

I assured you in my last update that Covid-19 will not stop our commitment to our work, or our support for our people. In this ever-changing situation, we are doing our utmost as a team to continue providing exceptional care and support, in a way that we would want our own loved ones supported at a time like this.

With immense commitment and resilience - our Portfield School remains open to our children when many schools in the region have closed their doors. Our classroom teams have been out on the road delivering care and food packages to parents and offering support to the families we care for.

In Adult Services, our teams are continuing to not only care for our people, but take on daily tasks such as delivering food shopping, personal protective equipment, or medication even in the face of severe drops in number of staff available.

Our front line key workers are showing just how incredible they are, going above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis. We endeavour to support them with all the resources we can so that they can continue doing their fantastic work for our people.

As a charity, we have created a 16-week plan called ‘Stand Back Covid-19!’. This plan has been developed by our Service Leads across the charity, and I must recognise them for their continued determination and positivity in navigating this situation. We meet daily to assess our response and ensure that the charity is as prepared as it can be, and we are updating our teams and volunteers regularly with our decisions.

Underlying our 16-week plan are four key foundations:

1. Keep our services open and available to the people we support,

2. Prioritise our staff’s health and well-being,

3. Keep our jobs going - keep our people employed

4. Focus on the future – we have lots to do to make sure we are educating children and young people and supporting more adults when Covid-19 has diminished.

I am deeply humbled by the daily messages of support we receive. Thank you wholeheartedly to those who have offered help in all forms. It reminds us that we are not alone – we are privileged to be part of your community of caring, compassionate, people.

Wishing you a safe and healthy weekend

Siún Cranny


Update from our CEO 


"We're determined that Covid-19 will not stop this charity and our vital support for our people. We are standing strong together and ready to be 100% open from Monday.

Portfield School is one of the few schools within the region which will continue to provide learning for our children, and support for our staff and families. This is thanks to the planning and achievements of our extraordinary teams this week. Not only will our school remain open, but our staff's families can benefit from support with activities being arranged for their children.

Our invaluable community support teams and residential teams are all working together to provide services in innovate ways, so that we can keep going, and keep providing care to the vulnerable people we support.

We have all committed to working together to not only survive this period, but to thrive, for our people, for each other, and for the future of our amazing charity.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy week."

Siún Cranny, CEO.

Regular  “COVID-19 planning meetings” will be chaired by the CEO to ensure that the charity is in the best position to respond to any developments. 

Update from our CEO


"At Autism Wessex we will take all available steps to ensure safety and well-being of our service users, young and old, our families and stakeholders, our staff and visitors.  Our support for children and adults with autism in our regions is needed now more than ever. 

Whereas this Coronavirus creates an unprecedented challenge to our “typical” society, we will act to ensure that we can continue to provide appropriate levels of support, guidance and learning for the children and adults we support. We acknowledge that the needs of our service users can be more complex than those experiencing the impact of this virus generally.  This does not mean that we will waiver in our responsibility to our colleagues and teams. 

This is a challenge that needs everyone to work together and so, we will.  

As COVID-19 continues to spread, we have issued regular reminders across the charity of simple steps to keep the chance of contamination to an absolute minimum: 

For Individuals. Visitors and Staff

  • Staff are advised to keep at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between themselves and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Should a visitor appear to be unwell this will be immediately raised with a manger. The visitor who is unwell may be refused entry on grounds of safety and wellbeing of our staff, children and adults. 
  • Frequently touched objects and surfaces will be cleaned with antiviral wipes. 
  • Windows will be kept open for ventilation.
  • Everyone is required to wash their hands, for at least 20 seconds, with warm water and soap after using the toilet, blowing their nose and or relevant  situations. After hand washing, it is important that hands are dried thoroughly. Hand sanitisers will be made available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue away immediately, preferably in the bathroom.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Autism Wessex Meetings

  • For any meeting that is not a high priority, we will establish if it can be conducted in an alternative way, via Skype, email or over the phone. 
  • If the meeting is an external one or has external parties in attendance and is not essential, we will postpone/reschedule.
  • For essential meetings, the number of attendees will be limited to ensure our meeting space is big enough for social distancing.
  • We will avoid handshakes and adopt the autism-friendly thumbs up greeting. 
  • We will ensure our meeting rooms and items used are cleaned with antiviral wipes before and after use.
  • We will maintain open window ventilation throughout meeting time.  
  • Pens will not be supplied for meetings.

We hope that everyone will work with us at this time. We are entirely dependent on the health of our staff teams so that support and care can continue to be provided to a large number of clients in the region. Please work with us.   

Wishing you a safe and healthy week."

Siún Cranny

Regular  “COVID-19 planning meetings” will be chaired by the CEO to ensure that the charity is in the best position to respond to any developments. 

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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