Save the Bristol Autism Project.

This petition made change with 1,538 supporters!

The Bristol Autism Project is a council-run service providing free activities during school holidays to children with autism, and their families. Through the help of paid, experienced support workers, it enables us to do what 'normal' families take for granted - enjoy a family day out, together. Unlike short breaks, or respite care, BAP do not require a referral from Social Services or healthcare professionals. It's an amazing, popular, well-attended service. More and more families apply to join BAP every day. And we're about to lose it.

Bristol City council are putting all short-breaks out to tender. As an open-access, free service, which keeps families together, the BAP is unique. Unfortunately, as part of a bulk tender, it is likely to be lost in order to cut costs.

For many of us, the BAP is the only support we get for our children - a chance for them to take part in a range of activities that would not be possible for them under normal circumstances. BAP is vital, not just for our children, but for parents, as their events and activities allow us to meet other families in similar situations, forming support networks that are more necessary than ever in this time of financial austerity and swingeing cuts to support services.

Without BAP, many families would effectively become prisoners in their own homes during school holidays, as it is often impossible to cater to the needs of our autistic children outside the home without support. The fact that siblings are welcome makes BAP even more of a lifeline, as it enables us to attend activities as a family. And for those of us on low incomes, the fact that the BAP activities are free is a godsend.

Surely the fact that the service is so much in demand, indeed, over-subscribed, should indicate the crying need for increased support services for autistic children and their families? BAP's staff are unfailingly supportive, understanding, and caring. Their importance, not least for the opportunities for social interaction they provide for our children, cannot be overstated. 

Please, reconsider your decision. Hundreds of Bristol families depend on the Bristol Autism Project. Without it, we and our children will be even more isolated than we already are.


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