Autism charity summer scheme

Collage of children and families involved with charity Parents of Older Children with Autism, created by committee member Barry Tracey.
Collage of children and families involved with charity Parents of Older Children with Autism, created by committee member Barry Tracey.

A charity set up only eight weeks ago to support older children with Autism has planned a full summer scheme with only £70 of funding.

The organisation, Parents of Older Children with Autism (POCA), is the brain child of Galliagh woman Edelle Canning who was frustrated at the lack of activities for her 12-year-old son.

Eoin, who was diagnosed with Apsergers Syndrome two years ago, is now socialising with other young people affected by the condition thanks to the efforts of his mum and the newly formed committe of POCA.

The members have been meeting weekly and have set up a youth club in Pilots Row. Over the summer they will be have the opportunity to take part in animation and music workshops as well as a cinema club.

Edelle told the ‘Journal’ while the last two months have been extremely hectic it is all paying off to see the young people making new friends and having new experiences.

In the first four weeks of the charity the members grew from 17 children and their parents to 26. There are now 40 members enrolled for the summer scheme and a waiting list for any other older children with Autism who may be interested in the activities.

Edelle says she has been “totally surprised” by the generosity people have shown to the group, in particular Pilots Row and the Nerve Centre.

This weekend the charity will hold a fun day to celebrate how far they have come in the last few weeks and to raise money for the future. They will officially open an allotment with the help of gardener Gareth Austin. There will be food, music, entertainment, a few very special guests and best of all it is open to everyone who would like to support the efforts of the organisation. The event will take place at the Playtrail, from 3.30pm to 6pm with a small entry fee.

For more information about the summer scheme, the fun day or the organisation itself, find POCA on Facebook.