Our Autism Advice Line has closed

It is with much regret that we have made the difficult decision to close our free Autism Advice Line and reduce the help and support we are able to offer to individuals through our Advice Service.

For almost 14 years, the charity has sought the required funds needed to run the Autism Advice Service through a combination of applications to grant-making organisations, statutory funding, fundraising events, donations and the charity’s own funds. In recent years however austerity has brought a decrease in support that voluntary and statutory services have been able to provide, and despite our best efforts it has become increasingly difficult to secure the financial support needed.

The charity has fought long and hard to keep the service going and but simply cannot continue to run it as a financial loss. As a result, we are sadly left with no option other than to reduce the service that we can offer.

What will these changes look like?

  • The Advice Line strand of our Autism Advice Service (the 0300 number) will close with immediate effect from Thursday 10th October 2019 which means individuals and parent/carers will not be able to telephone or email the team seeking general autism or educational advice.
  • The advice service in Norfolk has closed.
  • Our Welfare Rights Service will continue to be available to those in need – offering advice on benefit enquiries and supporting people to claim the benefits they are entitled to.
  • The Autism Alert Card will still be available with applications made via our website.
  • Our Colchester Adult Asperger Support Group will continue to meet on a monthly basis.

This is obviously not the outcome we wanted as we recognise the unique, important and vital role the Autism Advice Service plays in providing support to thousands of individuals, parents, carers and professionals.

Information and advice will still be available via our website, Facebook community groups, training courses, information days and our support group. 

We still require external funding and public support for our two Welfare Rights Advisors.

We encourage anyone who is affected, frustrated or disheartened by this news, to use our template letter to send to your MP and anyone else you feel you want to share this news with. On Twitter & Instagram, you can follow Autism Anglia and use #autismausterity and #autismanglia to make the impact known about how we all feel about austerity cutbacks and the degree they directly impact on individuals with autism.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported the service over the years in terms of donations, grants and fundraising activities. This has helped us enormously to keep the service running for as long as it has and support the many thousands of people that have used it.

A statement from our Autism Advice Team

Collectively we have worked in Autism Advice for 40 years, so it is with a heavy heart we have to say goodbye. We have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to serve and support the wider autistic community, their families and carers. Even though the most difficult times we feel rewarded to have gone some way to finding solutions, giving advice, listening, representation and empowering individuals. Austerity has bought a decrease in support that voluntary and statutory services have been able to provide. Autism Anglia has fought long and hard to retain the Advice Service, however, due to lack of funding we are simply unable to adequately provide and sustain the same level of service that we have in the past.

It is upsetting and sad that we are no longer able to provide a general Autism Advice Service. However, the Welfare Rights Service, the Alert Card and Asperger Group will continue to be in operation.

We would like to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years and we will truly miss being available to support you all.

We cannot express enough how sad we all are to be sharing this news with you.

Best Wishes,

Helen, Annie, Courtenay, Jenny and Lindsey

Crisis Contacts

  • The Samaritans - 116123
  • Essex Social Care (out of hours) Adults 0300 123 0778 Children 0845 606 1212
  • Suffolk Social Care 24 hours 0808 800 4005
  • Norfolk Social Care 0344 800 8020
  • Police – 101 or 999
  • Visit your local A&E Department