AIREDALE and Wharfedale Autism Resource (AWARE) has received £420k from the National Lottery to support local families affected by autism.

The group will use the money to run more activities for local children and young people and to provide further support sessions for their parents.

AWARE has been supporting families since 1999 and is now run by: seven part-time staff, nine trustees, over 20 ‘as and when’ support workers/trainers and eight volunteers.

AWARE was set up by a group of parent carers of children with autism, supported by Airedale Child Development Centre, in 1999. These original members found there was little support for families affected by autism and began meeting up monthly for a parent support group meeting and also ran a Friday evening youth club for families. Twenty two years on, the group currently runs: weekly youth clubs, monthly Saturday clubs and holiday play scheme sessions.

These are all currently in Addingham due to Covid restrictions.

Geoff Winnard, chairman of AWARE, said: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. We will be able to continue to develop the support we offer to families affected by autism. This is important because it helps both the children and the parents to build relationships with others facing similar challenges and to create their own supportive circles of friends and peers.”