AN MP has used the House of Commons to highlight the importance of the work being carried out in the community by the North East Autism Society.

During Parliamentary questions, Redcar MP Jacob Young spoke about his recent visit to The Mackenzie Thorpe Centre, which was recently opened by NEAS at South Bank, Middlesbrough.

Mr Young, along with Darlington MP Peter Gibson, met NEAS chief executive, John Phillipson, as well as staff supporting 16 young people at the school.

Mr Phillipson urged the MPS to play their part in encouraging central government to use some of the education catch-up money, made available in response to the pandemic, to fund local authority partnerships to develop more effective support for autistic and neurodiverse people in the region.

Now, the MP has responded to that plea while addressing the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Vicky Ford, in the Commons.

Mr Young said: “The Mackenzie Thorpe Centre is a school at South Bank which provides autistic and neurodiverse young people from across Redcar and Cleveland with the support they need in their education.

It is a great example of how local authorities, working in partnership, with specialist charities like NEAS, can provide this type of enhanced support closer to home.

He went on to invite the minister to visit the Redcar constituency and meet with NEAS to see how the current support could be expanded and replicated elsewhere.

Mr Phillipson said: “I called on the MPS to urge the Government to fund local authorities so that they can work with us in developing partnerships that will not only benefit autistic and neurodiverse young people – and their families – but save the public purse huge sums of money at the same time.

I am delighted to see Jacob Young take that message forward in the House of Commons and I hope his invitation to the minister is followed up, so that we can continue this important discussion.

Since the MPs’ visit, NEAS has announced that another specialist school is to be opened on Teesside as part of the charity’s major expansion plans. The latest school will be opened soon at Kiora Hall, at Norton, Stockton.

Find out more about the Mackenzie Thorpe Centre