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Reading-based craft group for autistic adults receives £10,000 National Lottery funding

A Reading-based community group running craft sessions for adults living with autism is celebrating after receiving £10,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. 

AutAngel is one of over 250 charities and community groups in the South East of England, doing vital work with communities, to have been awarded over £10 million of National Lottery funding in the last three months.* 

The project runs craft groups online and in person for autistic adults, providing a safe space where attendees can feel accepted, build new relationships and reduce loneliness. The new National Lottery funding is crucial for AutAngel to continue to run its craft groups, helping to build the confidence of the autistic community.

Craft projects can encourage people living with autism to develop vital social skills, with the strong relationships fostered in the sessions improving the wellbeing of those who attend. The Covid-19 pandemic has also exacerbated some of the mental health challenges faced by autistic adults, and AutAngel provides a support system that aims to improve their quality of life.

Someone who has benefited from the service said: “I found AutAngel in 2019 while looking for social groups for autistic adults. I always felt isolated and lonely before joining AutAngel, but the variety of groups allowed me to socialise and find people like me. Now I feel like I fit in somewhere. I’ve found AutAngel to be a vital part of my life and I’m not sure where I would be if I hadn’t had that opportunity.” 

Caroline Hearst, Founding Director of AutAngel, said: “We provide a community for autistic adults that is open and friendly. Thanks to National Lottery players, the costs of the craft group have been met for the next year, allowing us to concentrate on offering support to people and building our community, rather than just worrying whether we can keep going for the next few months. This might sound like a small thing, but it is life changing for our group members.”

Helen Bushell, Head of Regional Funding for London, the South East and East of England at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, and the hard work and dedication of AutAngel staff, this funding will make a big difference to people living with autism across Reading. We’re delighted that our funding is being used to run this vital craft group, helping to strengthen communities and provide the tools and support they need to prosper and thrive.”

Reading isn’t alone in benefiting from National Lottery funding. Yesterday it was announced that almost £133 million of National Lottery funding has been awarded to over 2,400 community groups in England in the past three months.*

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes across the UK. In the last 12 months we have given out nearly £600 million to 12,500 organisations reaching every local authority and constituency in the UK.  

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Notes to Editors

* These figures are for funding awarded from 26th November 2022 – 24th February 2023. 

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we support people and communities to prosper and thrive. 

We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with Government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives. 

Our funding has a positive impact and makes a difference to people’s lives. We support projects focused on things that matter, including economic prosperity, employment, young people, mental health, loneliness and helping the UK reach net zero by 2050. 

Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life. 

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £43 billion has been raised for good causes. National Lottery funding has been used to support over 635,000 projects - 255 projects per postcode area.

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