Edinburgh autism charity needs to raise £100,000 to halt closure

Families of an autism charity in jeopardy have launched a last-ditch plea to save the service.

Monday, 12th March 2018, 4:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th March 2018, 11:53 am
The Tailor Ed foundation is running out of money to support autistic children and their families

The Tailor Ed foundation provides vital support to autistic children and their families but lack of funding is threatening their survival.

After failing to secure £405,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, the foundation needs at least £100,000 to stay afloat.

The parents helped by the charity have penned an open letter in a final call to drum up funds and has been backed by 163 parents and carers.

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The emotional letter details the huge difference that Tailor Ed makes to their lives.

Raising concerns at what will happen to them, and others like them, if the practical and emotional support offered by the foundation is cut off, the collective of parents and carers praise the “ground-breaking” work of the charity who step in when no other services can help.

Mum Danielle Corry said that without Tailor Ed she wouldn’t be able to communicate easily with daughter Olivia, eight, who has severe autism and epilepsy and is non-verbal.

She said: “When they started working with her even following simple instructions was too much for her.”

Support workers observed Olivia and came up with a strategy to help her communicate using pictures.

When baby brother Max, now two, was born Danielle and husband Ross needed advice on how to help her navigate the change and they still offer strategies to help them deal with her frustration and behavioural issues as she gets older.

“Tailor Ed have given Olivia a voice and without them, she wouldn’t have come on so much,” added Danielle.

“No-one else could have worked with her so intensely.

“Staff are non-judgemental, open and kind. I feel like a better parent and more confident in dealing with her needs and behaviours.”

More than 200 families would be sorely affected by the loss of the lifeline services.

Roo Philip, project manager for Tailor Ed, said: “We continue to pursue all possible avenues and are awaiting decisions from a range of funders. Tailor Ed families have been incredible in supporting our efforts –practical and constructive, just as we aim to be for them.

“We’re still hopeful we’ll find a way to survive and grateful for the political support.

“Whatever happens to us it’s so important that the needs of these families are recognised.”

Lothian Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said: “This letter demonstrates just how much the Tailor Ed Foundation means to families across Edinburgh.

“It has made a life-changing difference for so many people, and I have visited the charity to witness first-hand the incredible work it does.

“In parliament I am pressing the Scottish Government to rescue the Tailor Ed Foundation, and I hope ministers read this letter and urgently step in to save it.”

The Tailor Ed Foundation are hosting an emergency fundraiser at The Rowantree on March 17.

Tickets are £25 and admission includes drinks, food and entertainment.

Auction prizes include the use of a chateau in the South of France, sold out Kevin Bridges tickets and a year’s supply of ice cream.