We have received £5,000 towards the expansion of our specialist college at the North East Centre for Autism in Newton Aycliffe.

The donation was provided by the Santander Foundation, which offers grants to UK registered charities for projects that help disadvantaged people in local communities.

The grant will enable us to refurbish an unused building on our Aycliffe site to provide additional training and a broader variety of courses to young people aged 16-25 who attend the college.

John Phillipson, CEO at North East Autism Society said: “We are extremely grateful to the Santander Foundation for their generous donation. The development to the college will feature a training kitchen so students can learn practical cookery skills and it will also service a café to provide small business experience. In addition, it will showcase some of the highly specialist work undertaken at the college and the benefits for young people and adults with autism.”

Sharon Atkinson, Branch Director at Santander’s Darlington branch said: “The Santander Foundation makes hundreds of donations every year to good causes throughout the UK. Our branch is committed to playing a key part in the community and we are delighted to be supporting North East Autism Society, and hope the donation makes a real difference to local people.”

Photo (l-r): Christine Dempster - Director of Education at NEAS, Sharon Atkinson - Darlington Branch Director at Santander, John Phillipson - CEO at NEAS