Game-lover Pierre gets cash for autism group

Pierre McDougall (17) at the John Pounds Centre in Portsea.''Picture: Sarah Standing (132129-5516)
Pierre McDougall (17) at the John Pounds Centre in Portsea.''Picture: Sarah Standing (132129-5516)

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IT’S A group that has helped Pierre McDougall socialise with others.

The 17-year-old suffers from autism, and sometimes struggled to make friends.

He is part of the Portsmouth Autism Support Network, which runs a group called Autinet.

Pierre, of Bembridge Crescent, Southsea, said: ‘I go to the group once a week for two hours and we play computer games.

‘It has really helped me to mix with people and make friends.’

The club is run in the John Pound Centre, in Queen Street, Portsea, for people aged 11-to-16.

But when Pierre, who is studying IT is St Vincent College, Gosport, turned 17, he did not want to leave the group.

With the help of his mother Barbara, they came across the O2 Think Big fund.

People can apply for a sum of money if they can show how it makes a difference to the community.

He has been awarded £300, which will be used to set up a session for people aged 17 to 25.

‘I can play games here with other people who suffer from autism,’ added Pierre.

‘It was really important to me to make sure older people had the opportunity to spend time together, because there’s nothing like this in the area at all.’

If the extra club session is a success, then Pierre can be given an extra £2,500 to keep it going.

The money will be used to hire the IT suite in the centre for the new group.

Bill Eyres, head of O2 Think Big, said: ‘Young people are brimming with ideas, passion and enthusiasm, and we want to encourage all of that exciting creativity.

‘Pierre impressed us with his commitment to making a real difference to his community, and we wish him every success in what’s a really worthwhile project.’

The 11-to-16 years old session runs from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, and then 17-to-25 years old, runs from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

It runs every Wednesday during term time.

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