Kezia Dugdale has asked the Scottish Government to rescue a closure-threatened Capital charity that supports families who are raising a child with autism.
The Tailor Ed Foundation has been helping families in Edinburgh since 2009, but has warned it may be forced to close due to funding concerns.
The charity has said that: “By the end of March 2018 we will have to decide whether we have sufficient funding in place to continue to operate.
“If we can’t raise the funds required and see a sustainable future helping families then we may be forced to close.
The foundation has a running cost of around £215,000 each year, with the bulk of the funding coming from the Big Lottery Fund – which supported the organisation until November last year.
Ms Dugdale, the Labour Lothian MSP, has written to the Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt, asking the Scottish Government to provide the necessary funding and support to secure the future of the foundation.
Ms Dugdale explained: “The Tailor Ed Foundation has made a life-changing difference to hundreds of families across Edinburgh for nearly a decade, supporting parents who are raising a child with autism with day-to-day challenges.
“It has helped children learn skills that most us of take for granted, such as being able to put on your shoes and brush your teeth, and being able to wait when you are in a queue.
“Without these skills, daily life can be incredibly difficult, stressful and isolating for children and their families.
“The future of the Tailor Ed Foundation is now at risk, and its closure would have a significant negative impact on families across Edinburgh.
“That’s why I’ve asked ministers to step in and provide the necessary funding to rescue the charity.”
The charity provides lifeline, practical support to over 200 families across the city and has provided crucial care to parents with nowhere else to turn.
Service user Elizabeth Anderton told the Evening News that Tailor Ed had changed her life.
Her 14-year old son William has severe learning disabilities and autism. Elizabeth said without the charity’s intervention, he wouldn’t be able to live at home. “He would be in some sort of special home and as a mother I wouldn’t have recovered from that.
“I cried when I heard the news – not so much for me but for other families.”
The charity provides hyperpractical solutions which Elizabeth said transformed their lives. “William can now use sign language; he can put his shoes on; he can visit the dentist. We were just drowning before Tailor Ed stepped in.
“As a parent, a member of the public and a taxpayer it is devastating that something so successful and so special is going to be lost. In this day and age of austerity I would love for somebody to compare their costs versus other city council services.
“I don’t understand why a service that is so accountable and that can demonstrate its success so well, is potentially going to be lost.”