Lottery grant creates cafe for young people with autism

KEYS TO SUCCESS Natasha Haji and Clare Martin help Pompey mascot Nelson use the Internet.
KEYS TO SUCCESS Natasha Haji and Clare Martin help Pompey mascot Nelson use the Internet.
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AN INTERNET café specifically designed for young people with autism will soon be opening its doors after a Portsmouth charity secured a £10,000 lottery grant.

Portsmouth Autism Support Network (PASN), which offers guidance and events for young people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), runs a range of activities across the city.

Now, the charity has been awarded £10,000 in lottery funding to help run a regular Wednesday night session from September for young people with ASD.

The funds will allow PASN to use the Pompey in the Community facility in Anson Road, Portsmouth, to run an Internet café, hosting a range of activities, including stadium tours, workshops and cooking classes.

The space will allow the charity to greatly increase the number of people it can help and give a much-needed break to parents and carers of young people with autism.

Steve Jones, chair of trustees for the charity, said: ‘It is fantastic news for PASN and everyone here is delighted that we have been able to secure this funding.

‘The climate for charities is very challenging at the moment and ours has suffered in recent years.

‘For a small organisation such as ours, this funding truly is a lifeline.

‘We really want to thank the lottery for their support. This grant will help us to support many more children over the coming years.’

The sessions will be run by staff from both Pompey in the Community and PASN, and the charity is hoping that it will introduce a range of new activities for its members.

Fundraising and events coordinator for PASN, Natasha Haji, said: ‘I am really excited about this amazing opportunity that the lottery has given us.

‘This is truly a gift to the children that we support and we will try to live up to the expectations of this grant.

‘Everyone involved in making this project happen have been incredible and I look forward to all the activities planned for the coming year.’