THE NEW COMMUNITY AUTISM SUPPORT SERVICE HAS LAUNCHED TO SUPPORT FAMILIES ACROSS COVENTRY & WARWICKSHIRE
24 May 2023
Residents in Coventry and Warwickshire who may self-identify as autistic, those awaiting an autism assessment and those with an autism diagnosis will have more choice in the emotional and practical support available.
Residents in Coventry and Warwickshire who may self-identify as autistic, those awaiting an autism assessment and those with an autism diagnosis will have more choice in the emotional and practical support they are able to access.
Building on the familiar existing CASS (Community Autism Support Service) provision, this service will see new elements introduced as a result of feedback from autistic people, their families and coproduction activity with local residents.
The service will also be easier to access using a single ‘front door’ approach. This will mean that residents can access this all-age service will be through a single phone number and dedicated website, which is available now.
The new Community Autism Support Service is commissioned jointly by Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board.
Dr Angela Brady, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board, said: “We are excited about the launch of this new service. We hope it will prove to be a valuable resource for autistic people across Coventry and Warwickshire and improve the quality of support they receive.
“By listening to feedback from families and working with local people to develop the service, we are able to provide people autistic people, those awaiting diagnosis, and their families the support they need in a way that is easily accessible for them.”
The service draws on the collective strengths of local organisations Coventry and Warwickshire Mind and Act for Autism, working in a collaborative partnership with Autism West Midlands.
The main aim of the new CASS service is to be responsive to local need – providing better targeted support in the community. CASS aims to improve people’s understanding of autism and contribute to greater lived experience – helping to support self-esteem, confidence, relationships and to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health
First contact with CASS will be with the Navigation Service – a single phone number and email with a dedicated support team, available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm. The team will help with emotional support and, based on individual needs, they can signpost, provide information and, if required, identify further personalised support, as follows:
- Community Outreach service – an experienced Coventry and Warwickshire-based team, working with individuals to identify goals and provide group, one-to-one and themed support for children, young people and adults.
- Peer mentoring service – available in the coming months, this new element of CASS aims to connect autistic people with trained peer mentors, with their own lived-experience, helping to support with daily routines, confidence building, and wellbeing support, exploring opportunities to engage in local activities and social and community groups.
- Training and education – a hugely valuable programme of courses and webinars to suit all needs. Workshops, toolbox sessions and recorded materials help build confidence and improve understanding of autism. Drawing on lived-experience, all sessions and courses provide effective and practical support for day-to-day living, in the community, in school, and in the workplace.
As well as signposting to other existing services, as appropriate to people’s needs. CASS has been available from 1st April 2023, you contact by:
- Calling a dedicated local-dial telephone support line (024) 76 012333 – five days a week (Monday–Friday), 8am–8pm
- Browsing for the dedicated website www.casspartnership.org.uk – hosting information, guidance and signposting links and online referral.
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Updates and service news will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – search for @casspartnership
Councillor Margaret Bell, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health, said:
"The launch of the enhanced Community Autism Support Service marks an important milestone in our commitment to improving the lives of neurodivergent residents and their families throughout Coventry and Warwickshire.
“While recognising the ongoing efforts required to support individuals with autism diagnoses and those awaiting assessments, the new CASS service will prioritise vital aspects such as boosting self-esteem, cultivating confidence, nurturing relationships, and promoting mental health and emotional well-being.
“As a local area, we are aware of the challenges that lie ahead, but our commitment remains unwavering. Through collaborative partnerships, we strive to foster a society that embraces and understands autism, emphasising the active participation of all community members in creating inclusive and autism-friendly environments."
Councillor Patricia Seaman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Coventry City Council said:
“This new and improved CASS service is a great opportunity to help support and improve the lives of our neurodivergent residents and their families.
“We know that there is still much work to do, both to support those with an autism diagnosis and to support those without a diagnosis who are waiting for an assessment, but the new CASS service will focus on elements including working to improve self-esteem, confidence, relationships and emotional wellbeing and mental health.
“Coventry City Council is committed to making our society one that accepts and understands autism, and we need everyone to play their part in making our communities more inclusive and autism-friendly.”
The service aims to:
- Improve the communities understanding of neurodiversity and help those who are autistic to understand themselves and to be able to celebrate their differences, be their authentic selves and flourish as individuals.
- Support people to manage and thrive at home, in education, in employment and in the community.
- Help individuals understand their own communication and interaction styles and their sensory preferences.
- Help improve people’s self-esteem and confidence, manage relationships and enjoy day-to-day life.
- Support neurodivergent/autistic individuals with managing symptoms of low to moderate emotional wellbeing and mental health difficulties.
- Provide an environment where all aspects of autism are recognised, accepted and respected.
- Offer parent, family and carer support through peer activities.
- Provide resources and signpost to other community-based support, as appropriate.
- Give particular support to transition-age young people, age 18–25 years.