Sledging, neck massages and a projection planetarium are just some of the incredible sensory experiences now on offer through North East Autism Society’s Family Support team, thanks to the generosity of Zurich Community Trust.


The Trust’s grant programme which helps address key social issues and works to improve the quality of life for people who could face disadvantage, went over and above to support the Society’s work with families in the community.


Family Support Area Manager, Aelene Burlinson, said

We’ve recently moved into new premises and with that came a huge amount of amazing outdoor space. I really wanted to make sure we used this for our children and young people. I held a fundraising day and we raised £300 so then the Society’s fundraising team got to work to try and match that.

 In actual fact Zurich did much more. They donated £2,500 which means we can now really hit the ground running… or sledging! We’re very grateful.


With the Trust’s contribution more than 40 children and young people aged six-25 will be making use of the new outdoor grass sledges, as well as a host of indoor sensory equipment for the new base, in Thornhill Secondary School, Sunderland.


Zurich grant will support autistic adults

As many as 70 young people could benefit across this year alone.


North East Autism Society Director of Care, Brian Stoker, added: “Family support allows us to offer families and young people support in the community. What used to be known as respite support is now much more personalised and is a lifeline for many families. This funding will have a direct impact on the lives of children and young people.”


A spokesperson for Zurich Community Trust, said:

We’re passionate about supporting those who are vulnerable within our communities and with our volunteering and grant programmes, we’re committed to making a difference together through the charities we support. Our communities are heavily reliant on those vital frontline services local charities provide, so it gives us great pleasure to award projects such as NEAS with the necessary funding they need to continue the amazing work that they do.

Photo credit: Amy Roy

Find out how you can get involved and support NEAS by emailing [email protected] or call 0191 410 9974.