Princess Anne attended a reception hosted by learning disabilities charity Hft yesterday, to mark the start of a campaign to raise funds towards a new supported living service for people with autism.
The service will provide a specialist environment specifically for young adults with complex needs and on the autistic spectrum, who are moving out of assessment and treatment centres to live more independent in the community.
The Princess Royal, who is a dedicated Hft Patron, spent time at a reception, which took place at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers in Essex and was attended by more than 90 people, to find out more about the project.
She was shown a video walk through of the development, which would consist of six homes with bespoke sensory environments.
Her Royal Highness also spent time meeting guests, including Hft trustees, family members, patrons and local dignitaries, as well as the project’s architects and consultants and prospective donors, trusts and foundations.
Vanessa Edwards, Hft’s Director of Fundraising said: “We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and share our plans for this essential specialist service.
“There are too many young adults living in environments unsuited to their needs. Through this project we are creating purpose-built homes and a supported living service where people can gain some independence and have the freedom to make choices about how they want to live.
“Today’s royal visit marks the start of our campaign to raise the remaining funds for the build which will help us open the door for young people with autism to live the life they choose.”
The new development has been designed to meet the sensory needs of people with autism, to keep them safe and minimise their anxiety.
Designed in consultation with people with autism and those who support them, the service will incorporate a range of personalised technology to support people to live as safely and independently as possible.
Staff working at the service will also be given specialist training to support people with complex needs and autism to learn essential life skills that will help them build their independence.