Council cuts funding for Bexley group helping autistic children

PUBLISHED: 11:59 11 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:59 11 February 2014

A charity that runs days out for autistic children and their families has had its funding pulled by Bexley Council.

The council had given the Bexley National Autistic Society (NAS) £8,000 a year but there will be no more grants.

Michelle Campion, whose son goes to the group’s events, said the funding was “tiny” for the council but made a big difference.

She added: “You know your children are going to a safe place where they aren’t going to be judged.

“They look forward to it, they don’t want to stop.”

Treasurer Juli Atkinson, said many of the 260 local families that Bexley NAS provides services for do not meet the “very high threshold” for council support.

She added: “We are very, very sad and dispirited but we will pick ourselves up - we won’t have to close down.

“We just feel we’re not being supported at a very difficult time.”

Because of charity regulations, the group cannot charge for its services so the funding gap will have to be filled from elsewhere.

Volunteers run activities like cinema screenings and swimming trips for autistic children and support their families.

A council spokesman said it commissions services with the Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group and Voluntary Services Council.

She added: “The grant system in Bexley changed in order to help address the council’s prevention priorities and to ensure that we get the best possible value for money for our council tax payers.”

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