Humberside

Withernsea autism care centre faces uncertain future

Autism centre
Image caption The building in Withernsea town centre opened in April 2010

A specialist autism care centre for adults in Withernsea could close due to a lack of referrals from a council.

The Cascade Autism Living Solutions Centre was set up 15 months ago by Pam Nicholson, whose own son has autism.

The centre currently has only two residents and Mrs Nicholson claims that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council is not referring people to the facility.

The council said that it used the "most appropriate service for their [clients'] needs".

'Get into flats'

The building has 24 individual apartments and provides "supported home living" for adults with autism, a developmental disability that affects how people communicate with others.

Residents have their own living space and are provided with individual support from care workers.

Mrs Nicholson said that young adults with autism often struggled to live on their own.

She said: "Most youngsters at 18 leave home. They go to university, they get into flats, our clients can't do it on their own. But with support they can live fulfilling lives."

One of the residents is 19-year-old Andrew Turner. His father Paul said living in the centre had helped his son.

"In the year that he's been here, for us to be now looking and saying 'yes this is now attainable', him living as independently as possible.

Raised concerns

"Compared to where we were when we started I would have said that it was a dream that was probably not going to be able to happen.

"The improvement that we've had in the last year I would say that is attainable."

Mrs Nicholson said the council had raised concerns about the location of the centre, staff training and transportation costs.

She said the eight members of staff had, or were undergoing, training to NVQ Level 2, as well as receiving specialist training in autism.

Mrs Nicholson said she was still unsure as to why the council were not sending clients to her.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council refused to go in to detail about why so few referrals were being made to the centre.

In a statement, it said: "Adult social care staff will always signpost individuals to the most appropriate service for their needs.

"These needs will always take priority over the business requirements of any provider."

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