Autism research charity Autistica has partnered with the CareTech Charitable Foundation to fund new research focused on revolutionising the provision of social care for autistic adults in the UK.
The research, supported by the new Social Care Action Fund, aims to identify ways to ensure autistic people are at the heart of decisions about their care, and that services are personalised, safe and effective.
Over the next three years, Autistica will run a call for Grant Development Awards designed to provide researchers with seed funding to develop their proposals, totalling up to £100,000 in funding.
It will also support the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) annual Research for Social Care Call by providing up to £500,000 in top-up funding to five social care research studies focused on autistic adults.
Dr Lorcan Kenny, head of research at Autistica, said: “Autistic people face substantial inequalities in terms of their life expectancy, health and well-being. For many autistic people high-quality social care support is key to alleviating these inequalities, we must base this support on a solid evidence base that shows the care provided is not only safe but also that it actually improves lives.
“Yet barely any high-quality evidence like this exists, it is time to change this and the Social Care Action Fund is a fantastic step in the right direction.”
The CareTech Charitable Foundation, which is donating £160,000 towards the fund, will provide researchers with care sector expertise and insights through CareTech staff involvement, workshop site visits to CareTech locations, and recruitment of participants for studies. It will also help ensure the Social Care Action Fund has a tangible impact on social care practice.
Jonathan Freeman, CEO of the CareTech Charitable Foundation, said: “CareTech Foundation is thrilled and honoured to contribute to the Social Care Action Fund and to be able to lend our expertise to the chosen research projects. Implementation of the chosen research projects into real world social care situations will be and essential part of ensuring the impact of the research on social care policies and practices for autistic adults across the UK.”
The research studies funded as part of this programme will focus on social care needs and relevant outcomes; developing a more robust evidence base for current ways of working; developing and evaluating new ways of delivering social care; secondary data analysis record linkage and reviews; and care users’ and carers’ circumstances and needs.