One of the voluntary organisations I work in partnership with to deliver the #happyinschool project is Kingston based Express CIC. Express is a user-led voluntary organisation set up in 2012 with the aim of building a better future for young autistic people in the community, encompassing Kingston Upon Thames, Richmond, Surbiton, Ewell, Tolworth, Claygate, Long Ditton, Thames Ditton, Esher, Epsom, Chessington, Stoneleigh, Worcester Park, and surrounds.
Established by a dynamic duo of two parents, Express currently runs a busy ‘mini hub’ in Tolworth, providing parent support groups, workshops, counselling, one to one support, pre and post diagnosis support, EHCP support, a telephone helpline, therapy groups, drama and siblings group. They also offer a Career Guidance service and work experience opportunities for young people on the autism spectrum.
Every year, Express runs a popular autism conference at Kingston’s Rose Theatre, to celebrate World Autism Awareness. The Express conference provides an exciting opportunity for parents and professionals to hear from autistic speakers and parents. This year they welcomed Chris Bonnello, Ella Tabb, John Williams and the #happyinschool project.
In addition to providing a variety of much-needed services, Express shares a special goal for the future:
“We are working to create an autism hub in the heart of the community, supporting autistic people and their families, a communal space for everyone; where therapists, families, parents can meet, talk and share. We’ve been working on this since 2012, nominating a Community Asset, evidencing our Social Value, all whilst setting up and running services! It’s been a long haul but we are continuing to work with Kingston Council to achieve this, and hope that we will have more news to share later in the year.”
Express were recently nominated for a National Diversity Award for the second year running. Annette and Tracey also received Certificates of Recognition from British Citizen Awards for their exceptional contribution to society and being an inspiration to other British Citizens. They have recently been chosen as the Kingston Chamber of Commerce’s cause for the year and are looking forward to working with the Chamber and local businesses to find opportunities for the young people they support.
If you want to stay up to date with this energetic organisation’s events, support, creative and educational sessions, you can sign up to their newsletter – HERE and when you’ve done that bookmark their website, Facebook or follow them on Twitter