This page is about Autism Networks (A.N) and the group it established when opening the doors of its resource centre in Crewe town centre during December 2006.
Autism Networks (A.N) Background
Autism Networks is a registered charity 1141889 & a company Ltd by guarantee, coordinated by a hard-working management committee and enthusiastic unpaid volunteers working for the benefit of our beneficiaries.
It is our intention that activities should promote physical and social development, communication and self-motivation in an encouraging, friendly, supportive and fun environment. There are no restrictions as to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.
Our philosophy is that all disabled people particularly those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (including Aspergers Syndrome) should have every opportunity to enjoy the best possible quality of life.
Autism Networks is open to anyone be they either a person with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (or Aspergers Syndrome) whether diagnosed or not, parents, carers, brothers or sisters or anyone with an interest in the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and is subject to a very simple process of registration. We exist solely on fundraising and donations.
The involvement in the group is currently extending throughout Cheshire.
In 1997 a small group of concerned parents establish a support group in Crewe due to the lack of support at that time for children with autism and their families. The group was known as Crewe and Nantwich Autistic Support and the administration was conducted in the home of one of the founder members with very minimal funds. Two of the organisations founder members (John Hannon & Tony Roberts) where both parents of children affected by autism. Both parents at this time where trying to find support that did not exist within their local area and decided (along with Nigel Gray & Desmond Wong also founder members ) to do something about it.
In 1999 Crewe & Nantwich Autistic Support achieved National Autistic Society (NAS) Branch status and became NAS Crewe & Nantwich Branch.
During our time as an NAS branch we had representation on the Cheshire Autism Project Strategic Committee. In 2000 this Project (funded by North and South Cheshire Health Authority) came to the end of its three-year Project.
The projects aim was to identify the needs of individuals and families affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Cheshire region. Based on the population figures and the prevalence rates of ASD produced by the NAS, one would estimate the number of Individuals with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder in the Cheshire region at this time to be 8,705 in total. This figure would comprise an estimated total of 1,913 with autism specific disorders occurring with generalised learning disabilities and 6,792 with high-functioning autistic disorder.
Due to the disappointing end of this Cheshire Autism Project our management committee decided that these types of official meetings did not provide the hands-on support families needed and we since resigned from this type of activity.
The membership soon wanted to do more but under the NAS Branch rules, we were restricted in how much we were able to do. The vote was put to our membership and the Branch was closed. We parted on good terms with the NAS so much so that they enabled us to carry on operations at the fully equipped office space that was opened under there supervision.
In December 2002, Autism Networks (A.N) was established and it remains to be a parent-led organisation.
Our long-term aim to develop a resource centre, which was first drawn up in 2002; become a reality in 2006 when we successfully negotiating a license for the “Old Railway Veterans Institute” and we moved in September of that year.
From our very small beginnings in 1997, the organisation has now grown into the only support network of its kind for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families within the County of Cheshire with clear benefits to the local communities.