Petition pleads to save autism service

One Stop Shop users and their parents campaign against the possible closure.
One Stop Shop users and their parents campaign against the possible closure.

A petition has been launched to save Scottish Autism’s Lanarkshire One Stop Shop in Motherwell which is set to close in June.

It was one of eight set up by the Scottish Government who provided £300,000 funding for each location over three years.

That money is now about to run out, with the two Lanarkshire councils being encouraged to provide funding to keep the North Orchard Street facility open.

A statement on the charity’s website said: “The future funding for the One Stop Shop in Motherwell is uncertain.

“We still await a decision one way or another from North and South Lanarkshire Councils as to whether they will support the service.”

More than 2,500 people signed a petition started by Karen Noble, whose daughter Amy attends One Stop Shop.

She said: “When your child is diagnosed with autism you are given two things - a list of books to read and contact details for One Stop Shop.

“They have been the most wonderful support for me, my daughter and the rest of my family. Without them my life would have fallen apart.

“Hundreds of families will be affected by the closure, so I am pleading with the councils to please save it.”

Both councils pledged to continue supporting people with autism, but haven’t decided if this should be through direct funding of the One Stop Shop.

South Lanarkshire’s Michelle McConnachie said: “ The Scottish Government requested feedback from the authorities as to the feasibility of the services continuing as part of the delivery mechanism for local autism strategies.

“South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership and the council have offered a commitment to work in partnership with Lanarkshire OSS to ensure that individuals with autism and their families can access support and guidance from within current resources to meet their needs.”

Bobby Miller, head of adult social work services for North Lanarkshire, added: “The council, with NHS Lanarkshire, already funds and supports HOPE, a North Lanarkshire autism organisation, with excellent outcomes for those affected.

“Any additional service developments for people with autism will be part of the wider considerations for the Health and Social Care Partnership in North Lanarkshire.

“In the meantime if anyone is worried and needs advice or support call senior officer Morris Howat, who will try to link with them with the right means of addressing their difficulties, on 01698 332622 or e-mailMH