Saturday, 12 November 2011

Autism NI - Show me the Money - all £400,000 of it

In August I wrote an open letter to Autism NI ( see here ).

Since then, I have discovered, thanks to another parent, that AutismNI, as of May this year has/had almost £400,000 in their possession.

I asked the charity  what it was doing for families and individuals with autism and why it retains so many paid staff, many of whom do not appear to have any direct association with families or persons with autism (fundraisers/administrators).

Anyway,  next time you are feeling a bit altruistic when Autism NI or any other of the 'big' autism charities comes calling for your coppers, please ask what your money is being used for - ask what services are being provided, what challenges to the system are being made for the betterment of individuals and families who live with autism.

Why are you (the unsuspecting public) 'Just Giving' and giving and GIVING to AutismNI's fundraisers (see below) when they have almost £400,000?

See for yourself below, Autism NI's annual report for 2010/11  (anyone can access this information from Companies House) as well as a list of staff members.  The charity's net liabilities are very small and I believe their premises are rent free.

What could £400,000 do for our children?

Our Staff

see here for Charities Commission for Northern Ireland (guidance notes for charities)


minervabradley said...

Do other people have a problem with a charity which is still rattling tins under your nose in shopping centres etc when it has so much money in the bank? As far as I know, local groups are pretty much fending for themselves, while HQ 'administers'-what, exactly? Next time they come shoving a collection bucket at you, do something humane with your spare change- AIDs, flood relief, famine relief, measles or maternal tetanus vaccinations in the 3rd world, whatever- & let autism NI spend a bit of the huge amount of money it has accumulated (?from public donations?)on autism services!

rattle and hum said...

I don't give to charities at all any more. I expect many of them, when you dig deep enough, are squandering money. When you are given money, you don't respect or value it. It would be different if the charities out there had to actually earn their keep and prove what they are doing. Is anyone watching them and keeping an eye on the money flow?

£400,000 is an unbelievable amount of money. Jobs for jobs.

NameWithheld4goodreason said...

Why doesn't this surprise me?

I paid my membership for over 5 years and every single year, my money went where?

Support and advice? Most of the parents in my so called support group were more interested in just chatting and whining about the state of their lives, seeking sympathy, instead of really working together and figuring out how to make things much better for us all.

Every so often we would be visited by AutismNI personnel to remind us we were "Team Autism" and to raise more money. I think many of those who are involved with AutismNI are either brainwashed, desperately lonely or else maybe its the only power or attention they have ever had. Its sad to be perfectly honest.

I quit a couple of years ago. When I think about the time I wasted and the utter B.S. that was involved I can still feel angry. I also still feel used and none of the members of the group speak to me anymore.

AutismNI is almost like a cult! and I dont think parents realise how much they get sucked into it.

I also know there are many more parents who left and who know quite a bit about how AutismNI was operated and managed but they are probably too afraid to say anything.

Richards Family said...

My son has just been diagnosed. I went to Autismni for help. To other parents in the same position as us I can tell you not to bother with it. Our phone call was finally returned only to be asked to give money for a membership.

My son is 3, has no education placement and we have no where to turn and nobody seems to be interested to help us at all. I am now using a solicitor to get us help. AutismnI were only interested that we joined a group in our area. It's 15 miles away. They dont have any real help and we discovered we are truly on our own to find any help. We could certainly be helped if they took all that money and placed it in programs for young children. If your child is under 3 you can forget about any help.

To the person, by the way who answered the phone at this charity, would you please inform yourself and find out the facts so that you dont waste the time of parents like me. You have added to our stress and I will be advising other parents I know along the way to stay away from Autism NI!!!

Minervabradley said...

Richards family- please get hold of the autism guide published by RASDN (see this spells out what statutory help you can get from your health & social care Trust-they are obliged now to follow the 'Children's pathway'. If you haven't done it already, you can phone your education & library board & ask about initiating a statement & about a pre-school place- it's their job to help you! Have to say from personal experience the practical help you will get will largely be down to you seeking out information, keeping on at 'professionals' & finding a voluntary group that helps parents work with their kids- but your son is still very young and you can make a big difference! I am a PEAT parent, ABA worked for us but don't take my word for it, read up & ask other parents

Anonymous said...

Hello Richards family. Please start the ball rolling to have your child (son?) statemented and do not delay. It may be that you live near to other parents who know how to do this and will help out.

good luck
Bronagh M

Chris said...

Until yesterday, I was a member of the AutismNI parent forum. I always thought a parent forum was to share information. Someone asked about support groups in Ards and another member replied...unfortunately it was not an AutismNI support group. David Heatley soon advised us all we were not to 'advertise' other charities as it was in confict with their work. Many angry comments from other members until I asked what social groups for a 10 year old were available in Newtownabbey? His response was to delete the thread and replace with a picture of himself holding an award. I assumed he was annoyed with the other people for I posted a new thread. I asked what events were coming up through AutismNI in the near future...excluding fundraisers. Guess what? He blocked me from the FB page! When the Chairman worries about 'advertising' for other charities, I'm afraid it means he is treating it like a business. It is a sad day when the business of the charity becomes more important than actually helping the people it was meant to provide for. In the last day...I know 40 people who have left or been ousted by AutismNI FB page...all have withdrawn their interest in forthcoming fundraisers for them in protest. We have enough hassle trying to gather useful information without worrying if it is AutismNI specific!