Highland One-Stop Shop
The troubled centre was already struggling when government funding ended two years ago and then recently our existing landlord put the property up for sale and we had to find new accommodation.
Catherine Steedman, Autism Initiatives’ National Director for Scotland, said, “Unfortunately, NHS Highlands haven’t agreed to financially contribute to the Highland One Stop Shop at the level we need. They have offered to pay for the new lease, for a year, but this will be £23,000 and the cost of operating the One Stop Shop for a year is over £150,000. The reduction in NHS Highland’s contribution from this year to next year has jeopardised the future of the One-Stop Shop. This year NHS Highland contributed £50,000 and we contributed £100,000 but we cannot be expected to raise even more funds to keep operating next year. Therefore, the One-Stop Shop is in an extremely precarious position after March 2018 – if we are unable to get funding confirmed for a significant percentage of our overall operating costs, we will have no option but to close the service.”
Catherine continued, “We’re due to move from Albion House on 22nd October and we are in the process of securing a temporary base and space to run some activities from – we will update everyone on our Facebook page about this and give out the new calendar of activities.”
The Highland One-Stop Shop was established in April 2013 as part of the Scottish Strategy for Autism’s roll-out of Autism Initiatives’ Edinburgh One-Stop Shop model across Scotland with initial two year funding from the Scottish Government.
One autistic person who uses the service said, “It has changed my life. It’s a safe, autism friendly oasis in my life, where staff have first hand knowledge of autism.”
The One Stop Shop provides support for over 450 people through 1-1 sessions, social groups, drop-ins, training and workshops, pre and post diagnostic support and a base for a NHS diagnostician.