Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and NHS Western Isles have jointly welcomed the news that additional funding has been secured to support autistic people during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Scottish Government yesterday announced that two specialist organisations will receive additional funding to support 47,000 people with autism across Scotland during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health confirmed £160,000 to increase capacity in the Scottish Autism Helpline and £45,000 for the National Autistic Society to help people keep in touch online during lockdown.
This supplementary funding will allow the Scottish Autism Helpline to be open 8am-8pm, seven days a week on 01259 222022. In addition, the National Autistic Society Scotland will use the funding to fully redesign face-to-face services onto an online platform, NAS Connect, to provide support during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The website will bring people together through interests such as film, books, arts, cooking, quizzes and computer games. It will facilitate social groups, coffee clubs and branch meet-ups that are unable to meet face to face at this time.
NHS Western Isles Clinical Psychologist, Dr Alison Robertson said:
“It is really important that support, and an opportunity to feel connected, is available for everyone at this time. We all have slightly different situations and needs, and it is great these national autism focused organisations can contribute."
David Gibson, Head of Children’s Services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said:
“The Scottish Governments announcement is very welcome in what is an especially difficult time for people with autism. This additional funding will ensure that people with autism and their families continue to receive vital support throughout the pandemic.”