WAH – Pilot Project

For the last two years WSUN has been working on a pilot project with a number of people on the spectrum.  These people reached a crisis point in their lives and were overwhelmed by everything.  Many were experiencing mental health issues caused by anxiety and depression as well as Autism. We worked with them on a one to one basis supporting and mentoring them with issues such as benefits, help to sustain their housing requirements as they were at risk of losing their homes, care packages, education, deprivation of liberty and navigating the system.  We have also worked with a number of agencies and organisations to help them understand the issues associated with the individuals and ensured greater understanding. This work is on-going and we are receiving more and more referrals for our support.

As a result of the findings from both the Autism Forum and from the pilot project an outline for the Wiltshire Autism Hub project was conceived. The idea was formed by local people with autism, and will be led by them in partnership with WSUN’s Management Committee and staff. We would like to raise awareness that whilst there are aspects of having autism that cause difficulties for some people with the condition, there are many benefits to having it as well.  The project will bring together the local autistic community for peer support and outreach, and will build links between the autistic and neurotypical communities. It will improve the local offer for people with autism and their families, and will work from a strengths-based perspective around supporting autistic people to live the lives they want to lead.

Identifying the need

Many Autistic adults feel like they receive little or no support from organisations within Wiltshire. The reasons for this are complex, and may include:

  • Limited resources mean that many organisations have cut back or reduced available services;
  • Many Autistic people manage to live independently for months or years, but can have occasional crisis points, particularly when reacting to external changes or stresses. This means that support needs can change drastically : a single assessment at one time may only show minimal support needs.
  • WADS supply an information package and assessment immediately after first diagnosis, but this is a single assessment and follow-up resources at present are limited.
  • WADS can re-assess, but must be referred by a GP: Not all GPs know that people can be re-referred to WADS after diagnosis.
  • Several organisations can provide different types of crisis support: However, Executive functioning issues mean that identifying and seeking support can be an overwhelming task without help.
  • Many support organisations require some kind of initial assessment or interview; this kind of ‘open-ended’ unknown interview can be a blocker to seeking support.
  • Many people with ASC are very uncomfortable and unsure in interview/assessment situations and can be highly vulnerable. This means that assessments can easily produce inaccurate results.

Steering group

WSUN have contacted and organised several initial steering meetings, each one involving people with Autism to help clarify and prioritise the project goals.
This has helped to ensure that the initial funding proposals and project will reflect the actual needs of the service users.

First steps

  • Identify funding sources and proposals
  • Clarify website design and resource


We have been awarded three years Funding by the National Lottery through the National Lottery Community Fund and the project officially started in January 2020!

Page last updated: January 25th, 2020 at 7:33 pm