Mayor opens new base for Bury-based children’s autism charity

A NEW charity shop which will play a critical role in supporting parent carers, siblings and young people on the autism spectrum has opened its doors in Bury.

The Mayor of Bury, Cllr Stella Smith, cut a ribbon to officially launch the new base of Buddy’s for Children with Autism, which is located on The Rock.

When it is fully operational over the next year, the premises will provide a coffee shop, a drop-in centre, sensory garden and room, disabled toilets and educational workshops covering employability skills.

Buddy’s for Children with Autism was founded last year by Bury mum Jane Lord to assist other parents fundraise to train their own service dogs. Her son Joshua has autism and after much research she realised that having a specially trained service dog would benefit the teenager immensely.

But with no funding support and a cost of around £8,000 for the specialist training,  Jane spent months fundraising before Buddy the dog was purchased and successfully trained. Since then, the charity has been fundraising for the second dog, Shadow.

The opening of the base in Bury is aimed at helping Buddy’s for Children with Autism achieve its mission statement and objective to inspire hope and contribute to the health and well-being of children with autism by providing the best support through friendship and education.

Jane said: “There are about 10 phases to the project. Phase one is the charity shop, phase two is to provide a changing facility, We have had donations of a changing table and specialist disabled toilet, The third phase is to have a kitchen fitted and to open the coffee shop.

“Our long term aim is to provide young people with a service dog. But we realise that raising more than £6,000 for a dog and training is incredibly difficult. We have amended our remit so that we can encompass the whole family.”

One of Jane’s first tasks will be to have a specialist hoist fitted in the premises to help visitors in wheelchairs and she is seeking people who can help secure the necessary equipment.

Volunteers are also being sought to serve in the shop.

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