AHEAD of World Autism Acceptance Week, the Society has forged a partnership with Nissan Sunderland Plant.

In line with the global awareness week (which runs between March 28th and April 3rd), volunteers from Nissan kindly offered up their time to support our work. 

A total of 30 volunteers from the plant spent three days planting almost 90 apple trees at our New Warlands Farm site, in Edmondsley, County Durham, which offers day services and respite for autistic adults.

The trees are the latest addition to the farm's growing orchard, which was initially established in 2019 to extend NEAS's vocational offering and develop commercial opportunities to generate income.

Once the trees have matured, the apples will be hand-pressed on site by the autistic adults who attend the farm and used to produce apple juice, and eventually cider, with profits from all sales directly benefitting our frontline services.

Kevin Meikle, Fundraising Manager at NEAS, said: “It’s great that Nissan were able to provide 30 volunteers to help us in planting a brand-new apple tree orchard within just 10 days. 

This kind of support is vital to us as a charity and we are hugely grateful for this.

This volunteering effort comes just weeks after Nissan kindly donated 90 wooden crates, for use in the delivery of social and vocational sessions at New Warlands Farm.

Nissan made contact with our Senior Management Team at the end of last year to ask whether NEAS could make use of the large crates, which had previously been used to house engines.

“I’m delighted that Nissan Sunderland Plant is able to support the North East Autism Society,” said Steve Hall, Engineer at Nissan. “The work that the charity does is invaluable within the region and we are proud to be able to help out.

The used engine crates that we have delivered will hopefully be put to good use and repurposed into something valuable. I’m excited to see what the young people and adults create.

The crates will be broken down and used in woodwork sessions to build a variety of products such as picnic benches and outdoor bench seats. Members of the public are able to order bespoke wooden furniture from the training centre, with all profits going back into our services.

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