A SUPPORT group for young people on the autistic spectrum is hoping to raise almost £14,000 to get a heating system installed in their new premises.
Christina O’Neill is the founder of All About Us - ASD Teens, which has grown from strength to strength in recent years.
They are now preparing to move into their own permanent base at Greystone Neighbourhood Centre, just weeks after the Antrim Guardian reported how Christine had picked up a Pride of Britain award for her voluntary work.
She explained: “We’re raising £13,998 to install an air-to-water heating system in our new premises, at present there is no heating in the unit.
“Three years ago I made the decision to help not only my own children but other young people and families who live within our community.
“To do this I began a small group called All About Us - ASD Teens.
“Initially our group met in Rehability in Antrim, we quickly outgrew there and we moved to Chimney Corner Football Club.
“At present we are getting ready to move into our own permanent place, a place suitable to provide social and learning opportunities to those in the community, as well as being tailored to the needs of those who attend our group.
“We are aiming to bring additional services, support groups and activities to the community for all to benefit and enjoy.”
All About Us holds weekly meet-ups to provide support and help young people aged 8-18 make friends and learn new skills.
The group caters for both those with a diagnosis of autism and/or associated conditions and those going through the diagnosis process, their siblings and their families.
Said Christina: “Most recently we have begun an older group for those aged 17 and over and we are expanding our services with our move to cover all age groups.
“Our activities include arts and crafts, gaming, Lego, fun sports and we provide specialist equipment such as scooter boards, dark dens, trampolines, sensory lighting, emotional regulation items as well as arranging outings tp places like our trip to Dublin Zoo with Rehability, Bangor High Ropes, Belfast Giants, The Lake Kilrea, Winter Wonderland and we have also arranged various courses.
“Our teens and volunteers have completed their coping with anxiety and stress, positive self-worth, Level 1 first aid for mental health awareness, food and hygiene, drugs and alcohol awareness, online safety all in a well supervised environment tailored to their needs.
“We are extremely proud of our teen volunteers who have received recognised awards with our Volunteer Now Millennium Volunteer Programme.
“These are just some examples of how our young people have benefited from the support our group.”
During lockdown, the group was a huge support to young people struggling with the sudden change in their routines and even sent out wellness packs.
The new premises will include a main space, offices, a store and a sensory room.
To support the fundraising drive, log on to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding
You can also help by donating to their online wishlist.
“With a lot of people shopping online, we have signed up to Amazon Smile to help raise money for our group, there is a donation made by Amazon with every purchase you make.” said Christina
“If you are using Amazon please shop at smile.amazon.co.uk.
“Search our charity number to donate to us at 107426
“You can create your own fundrasing event for the group, you could do a bake sale, sponsored walk, coffee morning ideas are endless and can be tailored to fit into your life.”