A Community Interest Company (CIC) in Kingston upon Thames, which offers support to children with autism and their families, is celebrating today after learning that it has won a £5,000 award from the OneFamily Foundation.
Express CIC was nominated for the award by OneFamily customer, Paula Alvarez, whose son has Asperger’s Syndrome. She put the community group forward after hearing they needed funds for their art therapy classes and sibling support groups.
Paula said: “My friend, whose son is also diagnosed on the autism spectrum, told me about Express CIC after my son was diagnosed. The people that run Express CIC have been incredibly supportive and given me some really invaluable advice.
“As a customer of OneFamily, I was of course aware of the Foundation and its terrific Community Awards, so as soon as I heard Express CIC needed help fundraising, I immediately thought about putting them forward. What an absolute thrill to have won!”
The money will be used to fund the community group’s art therapy sessions – a place where autistic children, can express themselves and interact with others in a fun and supportive environment. Art therapy offers an opportunity for therapists to work with individuals on the autism spectrum to build a wide range of skills using an approach that they may be more comfortable with and that may be more effective than spoken language.
The community group also runs support groups for those children whose siblings have autism and the award money will assist in funding these groups; places where the children can share their feelings and experiences with others who are in similar situations. Talking with a friend or with a person from outside of the family may be a comfort to many siblings, offering a new perspective on their lives and helping them to realise that they’re not alone.
Paula continued: “We are incredibly pleased and grateful to have won the award and want to say a big thank you to everyone who got behind us and voted. The money will make a genuine difference to the lives of these children and their families and to the community as a whole.”
The OneFamily Foundation is a unique customer benefit fund, provided by mutual organisation, OneFamily, which aspires to make £5 million available to its members to make their lives and communities better.
James Hale, Customer Engagement Manager at OneFamily said: “It’s a real pleasure to be able to award £5,000 to the Express Community Interest Company, which will assist them in continuing their valuable work. The support they give to local families and the service they provide is important to the community as a whole, and we are pleased to play a part in ensuring that they can keep doing what they do. Using funding to make a positive difference to the lives of our customers and their local communities is what the Foundation is all about.”
OneFamily provides investments, savings and life insurance products to help families work together to meet the financial demands of modern life. As a customer-owned business it is run for the benefit of its customers. The OneFamily Foundation redistributes a portion of the organisation’s profits, and aspires to make £5 million available over the next 5 years to customers to help them, their families and their local communities. The Foundation has also helped hundreds of customers with personal grants since its launch in 2014, and its funding pot is made possible due to the financial stability of the customer-owned organisation.
There are four categories for each Community Award, in order to ensure the Foundation gives a wider range of community projects an equal chance to access the funds. For this round of Community Awards there is one award of £25,000 and four awards of £5,000 available in each category. Express won one of the four awards available in the Health, Disability and Social Care category.
For further information about the OneFamily Foundation please go to https://foundation.onefamily.com/
For further information please contact the team on OneFamily@Lucre.co.uk or telephone 0113 243 1117.
The OneFamily Foundation (formerly the Engage Foundation) was set up to benefit our members, their families and the communities in which they live and work. There are two ways members can benefit; personal grants or community awards. A number of personal grants of up to £500 are available every month to help them, or someone close to them in times or hardship, or simply to make things a little better. Community awards are open for nominations in Spring and Autumn, with awards of up to £5,000 and £25,000 available to help fund projects in their local community.