Clothworkers A large and generous grant was awarded by the Clothworkers Foundation to help with the development of the North East Centre of Autism as part of an ambitious £9 Million renovation project. This represented a significant new development for the Society at the site in Newton Aycliffe. It involved the purchase of a former secure children’s unit from the local authority and the demolition of part of the site to develop a new school, alongside the refurbishment and development of other areas. The Centre greatly improves the range of specialist services available across the region en-compassing care, education and residential accommodation; whilst improving the scope of our family support and outreach services from one site. It serves as a central hub from which we work in close partnership with service users, parents, advocates and professionals from a range of agencies. The school, residential and short-breaks units and Family Support services have undoubtedly improved and transformed the quality of life for our services users and families - and have greatly increased our capacity across all services areas. Activity at the Centre began in January 2013 and was officially opened by the Countess of Wessex in November 2014, who observed some of the highly specialist work we do and the benefits this brings for children, young people and their families.