Autism charity to set up shop in Sunderland city centre

Lesley Lane and Michelle Elstob.
Lesley Lane and Michelle Elstob.
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A Wearside charity will set up shop in the city centre at the weekend as part of World Autism Awareness Day.

Staff and users of ESPA, Education and Services for People with Autism, will be in The Bridges on Saturday to promote a greater understanding of the condition.

Those they support will display and sell the high-quality arts and crafts products that they have made as part of their personal learning programmes, showcasing their many talents and achievements.

These will include soft furnishings and woodwork items such as bird boxes, garden furniture and loungers.

All items have been made by service users, including those from ESPA’s Deliver Me Timbers, a small enterprise initiative that supports the learning of employability skills run through Sunderland’s Croft Centre.

ESPA chief executive Lesley Lane said: “We wanted to highlight the specialist services we offer in this region to those on the autism spectrum and their families.

“Our promotional stand is a great way for us to raise awareness of our work and for service users to show what they have achieved through the education and skills provision we offer.

“We will also have to hand information on our current job vacancies, directly helping people who are looking for employment.

“I very much hope shoppers will come and speak to us to find out more about autism and ESPA.”

There will also be a raffle with profits being donated to the National Autistic Society.