We started off in 1989 as the Bradford And District Autistic Support Group as a group of parents who wanted to see more provision for children on the autistic spectrum in Bradford. Over the years, the charity has grown and we now run a number of activities for children on the autistic spectrum and their families, as well as providing a couple of support groups. At the support groups, parents can meet and discuss what they're going through with other parents that have been through or are going through the same thing.
When the group was first set up, parents ran the activities themselves and hired out community halls to facilitate the activities. Over time we acquired our first support centre on Listerhills Science park, then in 2008 we moved to a much bigger centre that had space for a soft play area with a ball pool. The Autism Support Centre we have now is across the road from the new police station near the centre of Bradford, and is 5 minutes walk away from the Bradford Interchange.
In 2011 as we changed our name to Bradford Autism Support. Most of the original parents that set up the group have moved on, but the operation of the charity is still overseen by a committee of parents that influence the services that we offer. We are always keen for parents and other individuals that have an interest in autism to become more involved with the charity, especially as their input that will shape what we offer in the future.
In response to the number of people we are supporting, in 2015 we took on two part time family support workers. This brings the number of permanent support staff to 5. All have a great deal of experience in their specialist areas which include school and statements, behavioural issues, play therapy and rights/benefits. This core of staff is supported by a number of bank staff and a huge number of committed, enthusiastic volunteers who support the staff in making our activities possible. And, before we forgot, our administrative staff carry out an important role in making sure that the staff who work with our children and parents/carers are able to support as many families as possible.