As the year comes to an end we find ourselves celebrating our achievements over the past 12 months as well as reflecting on what the next 12 months may have in store. 

December saw us host our final Friends of Daisy Chain meeting of the year where 40 local business people came together at Rockliffe Hall to hear how the local business community has supported our work. We were proud to announce that in 2017 we benefitted from 2361 corporate volunteering hours amounting to a whopping 295 days. This support has been particularly effective at our Charity Superstore in Portrack Lane where corporate volunteers have helped process the generous donations we receive enabling the shop to become more successful than ever.

We also held our annual Volunteers Christmas party to thank all those people that give their time freely to help local families affected by autism. In 2017 we had 100 new volunteers sign up to support the charity. Our volunteers come from all walks of life but all have one thing in common; they know they are contributing to making local people’s lives better.

As well as reviewing our achievements and good news stories we are starting to plan what Daisy Chain may look like in 2018 and beyond. We have successfully piloted a Sunday club for families where autism may cause their needs to be higher and more complex. This was such a success that we will launch this as a regular club in 2018. 

We are also starting to develop more services for adults affected by autism, particularly in helping people find employment. We’re hoping to be making some big announcements regarding employability services for people on the autism spectrum in early 2018. Finally, we’re starting to spread our wings a little and investigate what help we can provide in neighbouring areas, ensuring that we are truly a Tees Valley service.

So, thank you for reading and for all of you who have supported Daisy Chain. May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at Daisy Chain.

Stuart Dexter – Daisy Chain Chief Executive - 28th November 2017