Please note The Blackford Trust is now closed - this page is retained for purely historic interest
Autism Initiatives Scotland
We provided support to Autism Initiatives Scotland for their horticulture-based training and employment scheme for autistic people in Edinburgh and the Lothians. This was based at the Hermitage Golf Course, right next to Blackford Hill. Sadly, the Autism Initiatives involvement with the site has now ended.
We classified this as a social enterprise award. For more on our interest in "social enterprise", see this page.
Autism Initiatives Scotland (AIS) is part of the national charity Autism Initiatives UK. They have been providing direct support services in Scotland since 2004, mainly to local authorities, and have a reputation as a flexible, innovative service provider, offering a range of high quality services.
One of their key services, of which this project was a part, is providing purposeful and enjoyable activities for adults with autism throughout the week. The aim of these services is to maximise the use of community facilities, and support service users to develop occupationally fulfilling lifestyles.
Photos courtesy of Autism Initiatives Scotland
As well as providing productive outdoor work for their service users, the project at the Hermitage created a small horticultural "social enterprise", growing trees and shrubs, vegetables, herbs and other plants.
Outcomes and lessons
Very substantial progress was made by Autism Initiatives Scotland at the Hermitage site during 2011. The horticulture site was now in a permanent location, fenced, and with one polytunnel in place. AIS has took over the operation of the Hermitage Golf Course and the cafe in the clubhouse, with offered additional opportunities for social enterprise as well as training and personal development for their service users. In all, nearly 30 adults with autism were regularly involved at the site.
All the staff and volunteers at the Hermitage are to be congratulated for their superb achievements during 2011, and between then and the project's eventual closure in 2016.
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This page was last updated on 12 May 2017.
A charity formerly registered in Scotland, no. SC039658