Bristol City Council Announce £9m of Funding to Young People in the City Despite Removing Access to Bristol Autism Team

Infuriating news alert from Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council has created the perfect give with one hand take with the other scenario with regard to support services targeting young people in the city.

Autistic children in Bristol may have lost the vital Bristol Autism Team (BAT) support they were previously offered which has been reduced to no service, but no fear, because the Council has just announced it will be launching a series of new other support services for young people this year.

The BAT team previously went into schools to observe children with autism and work with staff to implement vital strategies allowing the children equity and access to their school day. This service was recently withdrawn and only offered to children with Band 3 funding or an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) formerly known as a statement. Any parent who has attempted to apply for an EHCP will know this is an impossible thing to acquire in Bristol. Rejection after rejection with parents fighting through tribunals for more than a year to get support put into place.

But no worries, because the newly announced services will provide support for children between the ages of 11 and 19 years of age, receiving £9m of funding.

Top quote from someone who clearly doesn’t have children or young people desperately needing ASD support from the Bat Team, Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “Providing support for Bristol’s vulnerable young people remains an important part of the council’s changing role in the city. Despite reductions in funding as a result of cuts in central government support we have developed a new service that will see around £3m per year invested in supporting those who need it most.”

Contracts have been given to Creative Youth Network to provide support for vulnerable young people in the North, East & Central and South Bristol. These contracts will focus mainly on young people who need support to manage a range of social, health and education/skills needs.

It is expected that the support will include services for those not in education, employment or training as well as support with mental and physical health. Around 3,700 young people in the city should benefit from the new services.

Bristol City Council has also allocated funding for small grants to go to other organisations and individuals who work with young people through the Quartet Community Foundation.

How about allocating some funding for the Bristol Autism Team instead of taking away educational support for children with autism in schools?

Bristol City Council say ‘anyone who is concerned about the wellbeing or safety of a child, should call First Response on 0117 903 6444 in working hours, the police on 101 during out-of-hours or, if you think there is immediate danger to someone call 999’.

Good luck with that. We’re still waiting for Avon and Somerset Police to get back to us over a month later regarding a child protection issue. Bit rubbish all around.


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