SWAN is one of 9 charities and organisations awarded funding under the new Scottish Government’s Improving Understanding of Autism campaign.
The campaign is aiming to dispel myths about autism and give non-autistic people an improved understanding of autism. The funding is directed at making employment and community participation more accessible and to help autistic people to live active and independent lives. The fund will be managed by Inspiring Scotland and delivered in partnership with the Scottish Government.
Community projects being funded are Autism Atlas, Perth Autism Support, Project Ability, and Triple A’s late diagnosis group (this project impacts both community and employment).
Employment Projects benefitting include Triple A’s, Auticon, Scottish Women’s Autism Network (SWAN), Enable, Into Work, and The Usual Place.
The new fund, which was nearly four times oversubscribed, attracted interest from a wide variety of organisations both national and local. Applicants were encouraged to demonstrate creative approaches in helping increase understanding of autism and autistic people among the non-autistic population.
The decision-making process took an inclusive approach involving the autistic community. This took a variety of approaches.
Autistic Advisory Forums were held in Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh, where autistic people had the opportunity to speak about the projects they expected to have the greatest impact.
Autistic people-led organisations offered advice, support and feedback on each of these local forums.
The steering committee for the programme (with both autistic and non-autistic members) also reviewed all the applications.
Claire Haughey, Minister for Mental Health, said: “We want Scotland to be an inclusive place in which autistic people can play a full role. This funding will enable third sector organisations to improve the understanding of autism throughout society.
We are absolutely committed to changing attitudes and highlighting the positive contributions that autistic people can make. Autistic people have been at the heart of this decision-making process.”
SWAN is to work in partnership with social enterprise Auticon to support autistic women in the workplace through: providing autistic-led training to employers and peer-mentoring for autistic women in employment.
All projects will run through to March 2021, with Inspiring Scotland providing ongoing support to recipient organisations.