A network of family and friends are helping Perth Autism Support gather as many tokens as possible in a bid to win The Courier’s minibus competition.
The charity does not currently own a minibus and is reliant on booking buses for transporting children to activities outwith their centre, such as horse riding and for trips throughout the school holidays.
Perth Autism Support chief executive officer Angie Ferguson said: “The minibus would make a massive difference to us and allow us to save a large amount of money every year.
“Our transport costs for holiday programmes are the biggest expense we have. The minibus would allow us to cut these costs and not have to be reliant on the availability of hiring minibuses. It would give us complete flexibility.”
The charity has 405 families registered with it throughout Perth and Kinross and more than 100 individual children accessing its services every week.
Mrs Ferguson added: “We also run an outreach programme in Aberfeldy, Blairgowrie and Crieff but even then some children can still be very isolated from the larger towns in their localities.
“If parents cannot drive then this can impact on them accessing services which can help build communication and social skills, increase their confidence and stop social isolation.”
Perth Autism Support has asked family and friends to collect tokens for them as well as their staff and volunteers.
Mrs Ferguson continued: “We have also appealed for tokens to be collected on social media from the general public.
“Unfortunately Perth and Kinross Council or NHS Tayside do not fund any part of our services apart from a small amount per year for parents’ support.
“Therefore we struggle on an annual basis to ensure we can maintain our core services to the level required as the only autism specific support in Perth and Kinross for families.
“This means that expensive items, such as a minibus, are never within our ability to fundraise for as we are continually just trying to keep our family supports going.”
* To take part in the competition, visit www.thecourier.co.uk/minibus