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Autism Bedfordshire Services for Adults

Who do we support?

Adults with Autistic Spectrum Conditions

What can you expect from us?

My Future

My Future is a new and exciting transition support service that has been designed to help young autistic adults (18-25) and their families to navigate the confusing world of adulthood.

Our My Future team supports young people and their families, to build sustainable long-term solutions to their support and care needs, focusing on enablement and independence. All work is person-centred and is led by the young person and their families in developing their support plan, enabling them to achieve their aspirations and be part of their community.

My Future will also be offering a 3-week intense summer program aimed at taking the first steps to independence helping young autistic adults prepare for adulthood. Activities will include:

  • Money management
  • Self Advocacy and knowing your rights
  • Travel training
  • Healthy Eating and cookery
  • Friendship skills
  • Building confidence and self-esteem

The My Future support team will be hosting a parent/career conference every year and facilitating monthly drop-in sessions helping parents/carers better understand what support is available when transitioning into adulthood, topics that will be covered:

  • Social Care needs assessment
  • Advocacy and rights
  • Benefits
  • Moving into Employment
  • Post 18 Education
  • Options for those with and without an EHCP plan
  • Wellbeing and Health advice
  • Steps to independent living
  • Supported Living

Online Support Groups

In March 2020 we launched Adult Services Online to make sure that all of our members had access to skills development courses and workshops, social groups, interest led social groups and employment support.

Due to overwhelming demand, we launched a series of online Covid-19 workshops to support our members with understanding all of the new rules.

In response to the growing number of helplines from parents, we started a brand new online parent support group.

Skills Development

Our Skill Development Courses are designed to help autistic adults develop communication, employment, social and life skills needed to be a part of the local community. To enable the group to work well both together and as individuals, the size of the group is limited to seven and all individuals are assessed to understand their suitability. Courses usually take place for one day a week over a six to eight week period with course topics designed around the needs that are presented to us.

Previous courses have included:

  • Money management
  • Understanding my Autism
  • Pre-employment and volunteering
  • Customer service in the workplace
  • Travel training
  • Social and communication skills
  • Building confidence in social situations
  • Increasing resilience in the community
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Cooking

To find out what courses are coming up please register for our newsletter.

In 2018 Autism Bedfordshire successfully become part of the NOCN training group, this means that some of the adult skills development courses are now accredited.


Helpline

Our telephone Helpline is open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday for information, advice and guidance on all aspects of Autistic Spectrum Conditions and associated problems. Telephone 01234 350704.

We provide advice and support to autistic individuals, parents, carers, partners and professionals.

Telephone 01234 350704. If you reach the answerphone, please leave your name, a short message and your contact number and we will call you back. Alternatively, you can e-mail us with your query at enquiries@autismbeds.org. We aim to respond to any calls and/or emails within 48 hours of any working week day. If responses are delayed, it may be because we are receiving a high volume of calls but we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as we can.

The web page also features a number of videos to help support with some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.


Social Groups

Our Social Groups are designed to provide social opportunities to autistic adults who are looking to develop friendships within a supported and structured setting. Within the groups, individuals learn social skills and gain greater self-esteem by developing an independent social life away from their family unit. Group members are encouraged and enabled to decide, plan and organise social activities with the support of our experienced staff team.

Evening Groups

Our evening social groups typically take advantage of the local community facilities and members will be either visiting restaurants, the cinema or other local leisure activities. Sessions are generally supported by two members of staff and take place across Bedfordshire: 

Bedford 

Fortnightly group for adults aged between 18 and 25

Fortnightly group adults aged over 25 years

Monthly group for adults aged over 35 years

Luton

Monthly group for adults aged over 18

Leighton Buzzard 

Monthly group for adults aged over 18

Ampthill

Monthly group for adults aged over 18

Biggleswade

Monthly group for adults aged over 18

LGBTQ+

Monthly group for adults aged over 18 on Zoom

Comedy Night

Monthly group for adults aged over 18 on Zoom

Quiz Group

Monthly group for adults aged over 18 on Zoom

Female Voice Group

Monthly group for women aged over 18 on Zoom

Daytime Groups

Our daytime groups are community-based sessions where attendees can take advantage of regular walks and lunches in local restaurants with their peer group. Supported by two members of staff these sessions take place across Bedfordshire:

Bedford

Fortnightly walking group for adults aged over 18

Biggleswade

Fortnightly walking group for adults aged over 18

Luton

Fortnightly walking group for adults aged over 18

Monthly lunch group for adults aged over 18

Monthly activity group for adults aged over 18

Leighton Buzzard

Ad hoc lunch group for adults over 18 

Ampthill

Fortnightly walking group for adults aged over 18

Biggleswade

Fortnightly walking group for adults aged over 18

Marston Moretaine

Fortnightly walking group for adults aged over 18


Benefits & Welfare Support

Social security benefits are financial payments. Some benefits are paid to meet basic living costs, some are paid for specific expenses such as rent, other benefits are paid if you meet certain criteria such as being in full-time work. There are dozens of different benefits and many have complex rules. We are now able to offer one-to-one confidential support sessions in person or online to help you start to find out which of those benefits might be relevant to you.

What we can help with...

  • Completing benefit forms
  • Check over forms you have completed
  • General benefit advice
  • Help with Mandatory Reconsideration (if a benefit has been refused)
  • Representation at tribunal
  • Debt advice and support
  • Managing your money and budgeting

Benefits we are able to advise on

  • DLA (disability living allowance)
  • PIP (personal independence payments)
  • Universal Credit

Employment Support

Our employment support is designed for autistic adults who are looking to enter the employment market within the next 18 months. The programme is designed to fit around the individual’s strengths, needs and aspirations to ensure every person who enters the programme is not only closer to the job market but more confident and independent when they leave it.

Features 

  • We run a bi-weekly job club to offer additional support with job searching and applying for both paid and voluntary work in Bedford on Thursdays
  • You will have access to confidential 1:1 support during your meetings
  • You will be provided with your own assessment plan and action points which will be renewed each time we see you
  • We will work with you in a variety of ways to ensure your needs are meet, which includes discussions and the observation of practical tasks
  • We run various employability courses throughout the year and you will be given the opportunity to attend one of these courses

What you will learn 

We will help you develop the skills and confidence you need on your path to employment.

We will do this by:

  • Searching for a job
  • Help in completing an application
  • Writing a CV
  • Writing a cover letter
  • Preparing for an interview
  • How to communicate effectively with work Colleagues

Testimonials

“It has been such a relief to finally get some genuinely helpful employment support. It is nice to finally have someone not only understand my situation but understand my Aspergers and how this affects me in day to day life, I feel actually valued for once. It has made me feel a lot more optimistic about the chances of me getting a job as well as about my future in general. It doesn’t feel like such a lonely battle now as I have help in finding jobs and working out mycareer options, I also feel I have a lot more confidence in writing covering letters and application forms because of always having the knowledge that I have someone who will help, reassure and back me up.”

“Autism Bedfordshire’s employment service has helped me build my confidence and supported me in my ongoing search for employment. With their support I have found a suitable volunteering role that has given me an insight into the working environment while I look for employment. I am very grateful for the help I have been given and I feel their advice will serve me greatly in any future role I do.”

Who to contact

Telephone
E-mail
enquiries@autismbeds.org
Website
Autism Bedfordshire

Other Details

Availability

Referral required
No

Last updated 09/06/2021