Friends & Family

Our Family & Friends Association exists to provide a valuable forum for parents to share information with each other and feedback to Autism Together as a group.

The main aims of the group are:

  • Introduce staffandfamily/carers to each other in informal surroundings.
  • Exchange information between family/carersandstaff.
  • Provide a forum where ideasandsuggestions of mutual interest can be discussed.
  • Give staff an opportunity to discuss the activities of Autism Together.
  • Establish family/carerinvolvement wherever practicable.

Since its first meeting at Raby Hall on Saturday, 2nd November 1985, theFamily&FriendsAssociation (formerly the Parent Staff Association) has allowed parents, siblings,friendsand staff to meet and exchange ideas in a friendlyandinformal atmosphere.

The group aims to:

  • The group holds no formal election of committee or officers, but ad hoc sub-groups can be formed for particular functions. Volunteers act as Chairperson,SecretaryandTreasureron atwo-yearlyrotating basis.
  • Meetings are held 3 times a year, with Saturday afternoon seen as the most convenient time. Members can ask to have items for future discussion placed on the agenda.
  • Staff regularly attend meetings to report on pastandfuture activities andways family/carerscan get involved in events. Although fundraising is not a main aim of the Association, opportunities may arise for possible fundraising.

Background

Back in 1985, in the early days of the Association, there were only 18 residentsand28 staff at Autism Together. Today wesupport around 400 peopleandemploy about 1,000 staff.

The first meeting was attended by 25 parentsanda decision was taken that subsequent meetings would be informal with aSecretary to take minutesanda Chairperson chosen on a rotating basis, with a senior staff member present to report on progress.

In November 2004, the group’s name was changed to Family & Friends Association to better reflect the input of carers, siblingsandfriends.

A decision was made that no individual supported person would be discussed at the meetings. Members have agreed to contribute £15 per parent. This money was used to buy a Christmas gift for the staff as a way of saying thank you, but from December 2012 this was replaced by a quarterly Staff Appreciation Draw with cash prizes.

Funds are also used for buying small extras for the use of the people we support and,over the years, has helped the purchase of items such as a vacuum cleaner, music synthesiser, pottery kiln,lawnmowersandeven a chicken coop.

The contribution is purely voluntaryandis not a membership fee as such, because each family member/careris automatically a member whentheir loved one joins Autism Together in either residential, supported living or day services. However, we would encourage you to contribute as it is an important part of the Association’s remit.

Membership Information 

The current Secretary of the Family & Friends is Carole Battersby, the Treasurer is Phil Whelan and there is currently a vacancy for Secretary. 

When new individuals join our services, either residentially or as a CVS attendee, a welcome pack is sent out bythe Admin Teamfrom head office – Oak House, in Bromborough. The pack includes a welcome letter from Carole, the date of the next meeting, a copy of the Aims & Objectives, the previous meeting’s minutesanda Banker’s Order form should new members wish topay theannual contribution. 

If youare an existing parent/carer who now wants to pay a subscription, please obtain a Banker’s Order Form from the Admin Manager at head office.