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Express CIC | Surbiton, UK
Community Organisation (Disability)

We are a not for profit, user led organisation. We exist in order to decrease isolation, improve access to education & improve the life chances of all autistic children/young people & their families in Kingston.
We run:
parent/carer support groups
pre-school group
drama/therapy groups
girls group
sibling group
yoga
counselling service for parent/carers
careers guidance service for people on the autistic spectrum
Education Health Care Plans & Disability Living Allowance support
an Annual Autism Conference in Kingston
accredited Makaton training
1:1 support for parent/carers via telephone, email or face to face meetings to support with pre & post diagnosis issues
We work tirelessly to raise autism awareness in the community, put on events, talks & workshops.
We are working towards developing a purpose built community hub for autistic people & their families, to be enjoyed by the community as a whole. We believe true inclusion is two way & needs to include all our local community whilst ensuring our autistic community are supported & welcomed – a place for everyone. 
The difference we make & how we involve our community
We have 6 years experience of running & developing Express. We have a completely user led committee who meet monthly to guide the direction of Express. We consult with a working group of autistic adults. In this way we ensure that we are led by the community we serve.
Express directly benefits autistic children/young people & their families by providing a secure, welcoming environment. An opportunity for young autistic children & people to express themselves & learn valuable skills through our therapy, drama, yoga & social groups.
In addition to the groups & services we deliver, we also offer telephone & drop in 1:1 support & post diagnosis support on a 1:1 basis at our offices in Tolworth. As a result of attending our activities, workshops & accessing our support with EHCPs & DLA applications:
Children report:
improvement in communication skills
they feel less isolated
increased self-esteem
an improved access to Education
Parents report:
feeling safe to express their emotions & the impact they may be experiencing from the diagnosis
that they feel better equipped to support their child
improved support in educational settings (EHCP)
improved school attendance & achievement (EHCP)
feeling supported, listened to & more informed which in turn gives them more confidence
feeling less isolated
feeling their relationship with their children is improved
improvement in their financial circumstances (DLA)
increased ability to access further services (information & DLA)

At express we know how isolating a diagnosis of autism in the family can be. We provide support to the wider family, strengthening families & reducing isolation. This improves mental health & well-being for the whole family unit.
Our families tell us:
‘Express has helped us in so many different ways & it has been invaluable having this support locally.
* parent support group, which was very helpful for us, especially when we were in the early stages of diagnosis
* organising hustings for local elections, which helped raise the profile of the needs of people with autism & also helped us gain a wider perspective & feel more engaged with the local community
* organising 1:1 clinics with our local MP, with whom we could share the battles we were having in getting support our son needed (schooling, CAMHS, specialist support) & who is in a position to change the wider system that is failing our son & others like him
* providing EHCP support, which provided us with clear guidance & a better understanding of the process & how it works locally here in Kingston (insights which national charities do not have), enabling us to apply for the EHCP, battle through the process & most recently prepare for annual review’

‘Thank you for helping our family over the last year. Without your advice & sound information we would be even more frustrated with the ‘system’ & our son would have to wait even longer for the support he needs. You enabled me to speak directly to our MP & to have the confidence, backed by information, to challenge the SEN provision. Through your community provision, I’ve had the benefit of meeting families in similar situations. Your expert advice on EHCP process is invaluable. Keep up the excellent work - you’re helping so many young people & their families to access the support they need.’

‘We are over the moon with the progress he has made in your Drama therapy group. it is such great news that X feels comfortable enough to be able to speak & interact with other people in Drama therapy, I can tell when he comes out at the end of the session that he is happy to have found somewhere other than home where he feels comfortable enough to speak and be himself, after his first session on the way home, he kept saying "I can speak".

‘I would like to thank Express for their key role in enabling my PIP mobility claim to be successfully

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