A Bridport autism charity has been honoured with the Community Hero of the month award.

ASCape is dedicated to enhancing the lives of autistic and socially anxious children and young adults, along with their families. It was founded in 2018 by two mothers who were frustrated with the limited social opportunities for Autistic children and the absence of support for their families.

Their projects provide autism and anxiety-friendly groups and activities, creating a safe and supportive environment for children and young people aged 4-25 to meet, socialize, and gain peer support.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

They received this commendation from Community Action Network (CAN) which supports non-profit organisations within the voluntary and community sector across Dorset.

Morag Fleming, ASCape communications manager, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled. We’re a very small but hard-working charity and our mission is to provide opportunities to socialise for autistic and socially anxious people and families and provide peer support for people across Dorset. It’s amazing to be recognised for this.

In addition to supporting autistic children, Morag explains how the charity provides vital support for the family members in what can be a constant battle against autism stigma.

“We know the work is important as parents describe the service as a lifeline. It can be so isolating being a parent of a child who has autism and there is so much misunderstanding. It’s just a difference and nothing more than that. People with autism are not subhuman people because they communicate in a different way or have different needs. It’s just a difference.”

Joining them in the Community Hero awards is Sex With A Difference (SWAD) – a charity that focuses on influencing major institutions such as the NHS to address and reduce inequalities faced by disabled individuals, particularly regarding sexual and reproductive health.

SWAD recently launched the "Better Access for Better Lives" campaign which aims to equip every sexual health clinic and GP surgery in the UK with at least one hoisting system and a set of leg supports by December 31, 2024. The campaign, open to people of all gender identities, seeks to improve disability access on a nationwide scale.