Specialist Autism Services

Liam Pedley, Communications & Information Systems Manager at Specialist Autism Services tells us a bit about the organisation.

Describe Specialist Autism Services in a paragraph.
Specialist Autism Services (formally known as Sacar) works exclusively for and with adults with autism across West Yorkshire. We currently operate out of premises in Leeds, Bradford and Shipley and have a presence in York. Through a range of different forms of support we aim to empower our service users (members) to live as independently as possible, develop social skills and confidence, increase employability and ultimately fulfil their potential.

What is the background to your organisation?
Specialist Autism Services was established in October 1999 in Bradford with a district wide remit due to increasing demands from parents and carers of people with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Since then we have grown to support over 200 individuals and their parents/carers. Over the past few years we have opened our Shipley site to support adults with autism and additional needs (Autism First), expanded into new premises in Leeds and have had the pleasure of being the Leeds Lord Mayor’s Charity of 2015/2016.

What services do you provide / which projects do you deliver?
We support individuals to achieve their personal goals through daily group (and 1:1) workshops (such as creative arts, independent living, cookery) that incorporate regular travel training and community access. Alongside this we also offer various employment programmes to support individuals to gain and maintain employment, outreach support in the community and an autism-specific counselling service. We also spread the word through the provision of autism awareness training.

Who is on the team? (staff and volunteers)
We have an ever-growing team of paid staff and volunteers. On any one day at the Leeds premises alone we have a site manager, service coordinator, 10 support workers, 3 facilitators and a number of volunteers. The Bradford head office is even bigger!

We are also host to the counselling and employment department on a few days throughout the week.

What is the best thing about your job?
I’ve thought a lot about this and can narrow it down to two things. The first is never having two days that are the same. The nature of my job is that I have the opportunity to get involved in so many different and exciting projects. The second is working with some of the most interesting and talented individuals that I have come across in my career so far.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Finding the right people and securing a sufficient level of funding for the support and projects we wish to provide.

If you had a super-power what would it be and why?
Have you ever seen the TV program “Bernard’s watch”? The ability to stop time to think, plan and get everything done would be brilliant!

If you could give someone you know an award, who would it be and why would they deserve it?
I’d nominate all staff and volunteers of Specialist Autism Services. I see first hand every day the hard work and commitment they display in everything that they do. We are very fortunate to have such a caring and dedicated staff team!


June 2016