Autism Networks (A.N) was established 1st December 2002. It was made operational by a group of like-minded parents, carers, professionals for the benefit of children and adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.
The organisation is situated in Crewe, Cheshire, A.N is a Registered Charity and Company Ltd by guarantee. It is run by a hardworking board of Trustees and many enthusiastic, unpaid volunteers working for the benefit of the service users.
It is our intention that the activities we provide should promote physical and social development, communication and self-motivation in an encouraging, friendly, supportive and fun environment. We impose no restrictions as to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.
Our philosophy is that all disabled people, particularly those with ASD, should have every opportunity to enjoy the best possible quality of life.
Autism Networks Resource Centre is open to anyone with Autistic Sectrum Disorder (with or without a diagnosed ). We also welcome parents, brothers, sisters, carers or anyone with an interest in ASD. Service users currently travel from most parts of Cheshire & North Staffordshire.
In 1997, a small group of concerned parents established a support group in Crewe & Nantwich. This was due to the lack of support at that time for people with ASD and their families. Crewe and Nantwich Autistic Support and was administered in the home of a founder member on a shoestring budget. Two of the organisation’s founder members (John Hannon & Tony Roberts) were both parents of children affected by ASD. Both were trying to find support that did not exist within their local area at the time. It was decided (along with Nigel Gray & Desmond Wong, also founder members) to do something about it.
In 1999, Crewe & Nantwich Autistic Support achieved National Autistic Society (NAS) Branch status and became NAS Crewe & Nantwich Branch.
1999 – 2002 the Branch achieved: –
During our time as an NAS branch, we had representation on the Cheshire Autism Project Strategic Committee. In 2000, this project (funded by North & South Cheshire Health Authority) came to the end of its 3-year term.
The Project’s aim was to identify the needs of individuals and families affected by ASD in the Cheshire region. Based on the population figures and the prevalence rates of ASD produced by the NAS, it was estimated that the number of individuals with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder in the region at this time to be approximately 8,705. This figure would comprise an estimated total of 1,913 with autism specific disorders occurring with generalised learning disabilities and 6,792 with high-functioning autistic disorder.
Due to the disappointing end of the Cheshire Autism Project, our Management Committee decided that this types of official involvement did not provide the hands-on support families needed and we have since resigned from this type of activity to follow our own philosophy.
Our members wanted to do more but, under the NAS Branch rules, we were restricted as to how much we were able to do. The matter was put to a vote and the Branch was closed. We parted on good terms with the NAS, so much so that they enabled us to carry on operations at the fully equipped office space opened under their supervision.
2002 Autism Networks (A.N) was formed
In December 2002, Autism Networks (A.N) was established and it remains a parent-led volunteer organisation to this day.
Our long-term aim to develop a resource centre, which was first drawn up in 2002, become a reality in 2006, when we successfully negotiated a license for the old Railway Veterans Institute building. We took up residence started to develop the Autism Networks Recourse Centre September 2006.
From its very small beginnings in 1997, the Organisation has now matured as the only support network of its kind for people with ASD and their families within Cheshire, offering many benefits to those who use the facilities we provide.