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Baylis Trust grant helps maintain Autism Berkshire's 'vital' benefits service

A £500 grant from the Louis Baylis Trust has enabled Autism Berkshire to keep its ‘vital’ benefits service running during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The charity was selected alongside 11 other good causes in the area to receive emergency funding from the Advertiser’s owner during the public health crisis.

The money has allowed autistic people in Berkshire and their families to get help with applications for benefits.

The charity’s expert advisers, Kevin Jackson and Carrie Steers, have also been on hand to help people navigate the appeals system even though the normal programme of benefits advice workshops and face-to-face appointments was suspended due to the lockdown.

Clients can get in touch by email and phone, with appointments to discuss completing application forms taking place using video conference calls.

Autism Berkshire’s chief executive officer, Jane Stanford-Beale, said: “The Trust is a generous supporter of our work, including the Bear With Me social group for autistic adults in Maidenhead, and responded quickly when we applied to the coronavirus fund.

“The grant has helped us to maintain this vital advice service at a time when some of its normal sources of funding were hit by the lockdown.”

With demand for help remaining high, the charity is launching a free online workshop for autistic people, their parents and carers to help them understand their benefits rights.

The first, on Monday, June 15, is about the Disability Living Allowance which is a benefit for children aged up to 15.

On Monday, June 29, an online session will be held looking at benefits for older teenagers and adults, including Personal Independence Payment.

The charity’s chief executive added: “Alongside giving people help to complete disability benefit applications, we have supported people whose jobs have been affected by the situation and needed advice about claiming Universal Credit, as well as explaining eligibility for Carer’s Allowance after the Government guidelines were changed during the lockdown.”

Visit www.autismberkshire.org.uk/benefits-service or call 01189 594 594 for details of the workshops and support available.

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