Octopus Giving Reading time: 4 mins

10 questions for Beyond Autism

27 Nov 2017

What’s your mission?

BeyondAutism is a charity dedicated to empowering people with autism to lead fuller lives through positive educational experiences, training for the people who work with them and support for their families and carers. We are experts in educating children and young people with autism, applying the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behaviour (VB) to teach students and arm them with the life skills they need to live as independent a life as possible.

Our aspirational goal is to be the go-to service provider for outstanding ABA/VB provision, information, training and research.

How did Beyond Autism get started?

BeyondAutism was founded as The Rainbow Charity in 2000, when a group of parents founded Rainbow School (now BeyondAutism Schools) with three pupils in a run-down pre-fabricated hut on the grounds of Beatrix Potter School in Wandsworth. From this modest beginning, the charity has expanded at a rapid rate. Today we have two schools (with 68 pupils), a Post-19 service, a developing Early Years provision, as well as outreach and training programmes.

What type of activities do you do?

We run BeyondAutism schools, independent special schools, offering transformative specialist education for children and young people with autism aged 4-19. We also run a Post-19 provision that empowers people with autism, preparing them for adulthood with a skillset that enables them to have choice and control. We also provide outreach and training services for parents, carers, professionals and mainstream schools and are piloting an Early Years provision.

Beyond autism lady and boy in soft play area

How has Octopus Giving made a difference to the work you do?

Over the past two years, Octopus Giving has been a fantastic support to our charity. In total they have donated over £115,000 towards our Tram House Appeal. These funds have been instrumental in the redevelopment of our Tram House school site to help us create an outstanding school for Secondary and Sixth Form students with autism.

Above and beyond the money that Octopus Giving has donated, they have been supportive in many other ways. Octopus regularly provides volunteers for various school events, from helping to run Sports Day, to reading to students at World Book Day, to helping out at the Christmas production. At every opportunity to help, their staff have always been keen volunteers and always help to make events run smoothly. Since 2016, Octopus have provided almost 100 volunteers to help with BeyondAutism events.

Beyond autism lady and boy on tablet

What are you most proud of?

In October 2016, in collaboration with Octopus Giving, we held our first ever charity abseil. This took place in 33 Holborn and involved over 50 participants, all freefall abseiling down seven floors. This abseil wouldn’t have been able to take place without the help of Octopus and Sainsbury’s allowing us to use their building. The event was a brilliant success and raised an amazing £10,450 towards our Tram House Appeal. In November some of us took part in this year’s abseil event, including our CEO Tracie Linehan and our Post-19 Vice Principal Penny Deakin.

Beyond Autism abseil event at Octopus offices with volunteers

Beyond Autism abseil event at Octopus offices

What are you working on right now?

The redevelopment of Tram House is nearing completion and the school will be open in January 2018. The focus for the school is to fill the 24 additional places created by the new building – we already have more than enough referrals to make this happen.

Post-19 is into its second year with four learners, enabling them to develop the key skills needed to make their own choices about where and how they live, what they do and with whom. The focus for Post-19 is to grow this provision to make sure that we can reach as many young people as possible to prepare them for adulthood.

In September, our new Head of Outreach started at the charity. We are building a network of consultants who will be able to deliver our training programmes which utilise the knowledge and expertise of our highly skilled staff to deliver life changing outcomes for children and young people with autism in other schools and organisations. Our Head of Outreach is also in charge of running the Early Year’s programme as we look to deliver a second pilot programme in the New Year.

Beyond Autism Octopus volunteers with mascot

What things do you worry about?

Not having the ability to pump prime new developments and services, and therefore not being able to extend our reach to children and young people with autism, their families and the other people that know them.

What makes you positive about the future?

The progress our pupils and learners make, the partnerships we are building across the sector and our dedicated staff team.

What’s the one thing that would help get Beyond Autism closer to achieving your mission?

Developing and increasing our supporter base – raising our profile, generating unrestricted income, building a powerful wave of in-kind support.

How can people get involved?

To get involved in the work we do, whether volunteering, donating or taking part in a challenge event, get in touch with [email protected].

Find out more about Octopus Giving.


Octopus Giving