Autism Waiting List Project

In collaboration with SAANS, Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) and The Sheffield Autism Partnership Network (SAPN) are carrying out a 6-month pilot project aimed at improving the experiences of people who are on the waiting list for an Autism assessment in Sheffield.

The 6 organisations below have been chosen to be part of this pilot scheme due to their experience in providing wellbeing and practical support to people across a variety of communities in Sheffield, alongside their commitment to making their services accessible and friendly for Autistic people or those experiencing challenges that are associated with being Autistic. They’ve also completed training to expand their knowledge of things like benefits and access to work; gender differences in Autism; suicide awareness and prevention; and different types of communication needs.

Over the course of the next six months (March-August 2024), these organisations are available to anyone in Sheffield who’s waiting for a SAANS diagnostic assessment, to provide you with support and advice to help improve and maintain your wellbeing, no matter where you are on your diagnostic journey.

Our Bridging the Gap programme offers crucial employment support during your wait for a diagnostic assessment. We can offer one-to-one assistance tailored to your needs with face-to face meetings in our Sheffield office or online video calls – typically 1 hour per week, but flexibility based on your schedule – where you will get support to develop a plan to overcome barriers; boost your confidence and self-esteem in the workplace; gain assistance with setting and achieving your goals and aspirations; access meaningful volunteering experiences and develop skills for employment success.

To access the programme, please visit autismplus-employmentservices.co.uk/programmes/bridging-the-gap, email us on EmploymentSupport@autismplus.co.uk or call 01143 840284 – press option 4 for the Employment Team.

Darnall Well Being offer a range of group activities that help people to be physically healthy, improve emotional wellbeing and to socialise – ranging from health walks, chairobics and allotment groups to craft group, yoga and fun fitness.  We also offer one to one support to make healthy lifestyle changes and support with managing long term conditions.

Please contact us at dwb.admin@darnallwellbeing.org.uk (Put Autism Support in the Subject Heading) or on 0114 249 6315 to find out more about the support we can offer, or read on for more information about the workers on this project:

Alfred Sandy (he/him) works for Darnall Well Being as a Health and Wellbeing Worker. He helps facilitate group sessions and works with individuals on a 1:1 basis. Alfred works Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Email: Alfred.Sandy@darnallwellbeing.org.uk Mobile: 07496176196

Claire Birkinshaw (she/ her) has been supporting people to meet their potential with Darnall Well Being, since 2009.  She is pleased to be able to offer support to people on the Autism Waiting List as she recognise this is a time when support is especially valuable. Claire works part time and has 2 school age children. Email: Claire@darnallwellbeing.org.uk or text: 07825 291026

Firvale Community Hub is an award winning organisation committed to improving social equalities and inclusion for communities experiencing disenfranchisement and marginalisation in Sheffield. We empower groups and individuals to find their voice and find leadership, to influence and inform a more inclusive society, through targeted and deeply personalised education and confidence building based projects. These projects include advice and advocacy, immigration services, ESOL and employability, cohesion and health projects.

You can find out more about the services and activities at firvalecommunityhub.org.uk or get in touch via referrals@firvalecommunityhub.org.uk.

We run autism friendly, supportive sessions in our workshop in Neepsend in Sheffield. Our team makes lovely things and you are invited to come and have a look to see if you would like to join us. We will help you to improve your skills and exercise your creativity in woodwork, art and music. You can come for a few hours or longer. Sessions run each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9.00 am to 4.30pm.

You can find out more about Percy Street CIC on their website: percystreetcic.com. To join a session, please call Brian George on 07795 446719, email on brian@percystreetcic.com, or call into the workshop for a chat at 117 Albyn Works, Percy Street, Sheffield, S3 8BT.

SACMHA Health & Social Care is an African Caribbean-led charity established in 1988, initially in response to the mental health needs of people of African or Caribbean descent. We currently work with anyone from a Black, Asian, Minority ethnic background offering culturally relevant health and social care support to people in need of assistance due to their age, youth, disability, caring responsibilities, financial hardship or social disadvantage. In delivering our services we provide a range of social and health care facilities, research, information, advice and education, on all aspects of mental and physical health to people across the city. 

SACMHA promotes inclusivity and all enquiries will receive a positive response. For more information about our activities and services, please visit sacmha.org.uk. You can also contact us on tel. 0114 272 6393.

All of our Sheffield Voices groups are open to people waiting for a diagnostic assessment. We are happy to answer any questions you have about the type of groups we run and figure out what support would work best for you. We can also offer to meet you before a group if you are nervous about taking part. This would be a staff member or volunteer. Please look at our about us page to see who works for us.

We also run a specific intersectional cafe for people who are LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse. A lot of our members are Autistic, and this is ran by our project co-ordinator, Kelly, who is Autistic and a member of the community as well.

Please email kelly.scargill@disabilitysheffield.org.uk or fill in our contact form on sheffieldvoices.org.uk if you have any further questions.