The Caudwell International Children’s Centre (CICC)
New £18m autism centre opening to cope with lack of support in the UK
Britain’s first independent centre dedicated to autism diagnosis, therapy and research is set to open this year – and aims to revolutionise the way millions of people in the UK affected by the condition can be helped.
National charity, Caudwell Children, has revealed plans for an £18million facility being built at Keele University in Staffordshire, which will open this autumn.
The state-of-the-art Caudwell International Children’s Centre (CICC) will be the first of its kind in the UK and promises to lead the way in multi-disciplinary assessments, family support services and research into a wide range of autism interventions.
Purpose-built with autistic people in mind, it will include state-of-the-art assessment suites, a sensory garden to help children interact with nature, family training suites as well as training kitchens for cooking classes to encourage a healthy diet.
Caudwell Children – launched in 2000 to provide care and support for children across a number of disabilities – has seen a significant rise in demand from parents of children with autism who have nowhere to turn.
Trudi Beswick – Chief Executive
Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, said: “The amount of support we have been giving families affected by autism has increased significantly over the last few years. We have found some woeful inadequacies in diagnosis, education and funding for autism. Many parents are left wondering which way to turn for the right support, with children waiting up to seven years to be diagnosed.
“We hope the new centre will unite the world’s leading experts on autism diagnosis and therapy and set a new standard for the UK.
“It is just as much about giving support to parents and families as it is the children with autism and this has shaped every part of this exciting project, from the look and feel of the building to the structure of the support programme we will offer. Our objective is to provide a gold standard clinical service and the required evidence base for autism interventions to eventually enter mainstream healthcare, giving families a brighter future following diagnosis.
“The children we support are at the heart of everything Caudwell Children does and this facility will be a true reflection of our approach.”
Official NHS figures* estimate 1 in 100 people in the UK have autism, yet in the US, where diagnosis is more advanced, it is 1 in 68 – over a third more – which Caudwell Children suspect is a more accurate figure for the UK.
Meanwhile, in the UK £4 million per year is spent on autism research, compared with £590 million on cancer. Yet autism costs the UK taxpayer £32 billion a year – over twice as much as cancer.
Out of desperation, many parents turn to the internet, accepting misleading or unverified advice or signing up to unproven, costly therapies.
John Caudwell – Chairman & Founder
John Caudwell, Philanthropist and Chairman of Caudwell Children, said: “I have been deeply affected by the families I’ve met whose lives have been devastated by autism, and rebuilt thanks to the support of the charity. I am proud to support what is set to be a landmark development in the provision of services for the millions of people who are affected by autism on a daily basis. Caudwell Children was founded on the principle that by offering a transparent charity to donors we can provide a more efficient service to our beneficiaries. The Caudwell International Children’s Centre embodies this principle with Trudi and the team identifying the most efficient way to help as many children affected by autism as possible.”
Dad Gareth Bowen said he was left bereft by a lack of support when his son William was diagnosed with autism.
He said: “At the time when we first noticed William had regressed and gone backwards in his development, we tried to get help but nobody believed us. Then finally when he was diagnosed with autism, we were lost in the system and left to fend for ourselves. We were handed a leaflet and told ‘You’re on your own’.
“Caudwell Children were the first people to say they understood what we were going through and could do something to help. This new building will provide a new hope for the millions of people like us that are facing a daily struggle against the effects of autism.”
While Caudwell Children is not condition specific and will continue to provide support for children with all disabilities, the new Caudwell International Children’s Centre will have a specific focus on providing therapy and research programmes for children with neurodevelopmental conditions, specifically, autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Images released by the charity show an iconic building designed around two internal courtyards with access to surrounding woodlands and landscaped gardens. The building’s assessment and therapy suites will provide an open and welcoming environment for the thousands of children and families expected to visit the Centre each year.
Designed by the charity and Cheshire-based architects, C4 Consulting, in consultation with autistic children and parents, the centre will feature a variety of therapy and educational environments designed to accommodate both physical and sensory disabilities.
With a construction cost of £18millon, funding for the project so far has been sourced from a number of generous individual philanthropists, with a public fundraising campaign also set to be launched via the website www.ourhouseappeal.com.
The charity’s founder, John Caudwell, has pledged to personally match every pound donated to the fundraising appeal.
All of the charity’s existing operations will move from their Head Office in Stoke-on-Trent to the new building, which is expected to open in late 2017. The move is set to create up to 100 new jobs and thousands of hours of volunteer opportunities.
Dr Juli Crocombe,
Director of Clinical Services & Research
Dr Juli Crocombe, Director of Clinical Services and Research, Caudwell Children said: “The charity’s vision is to provide a comprehensive assessment programme, intervention pathway and family support service all under one roof and in an environment specifically designed to meet the needs of people with autism. In doing so we will be offering a service like no other in the UK and providing opportunities for vital research into the effectiveness of a range of autism intervention strategies. Identified as a priority within autism research, our work to provide a solid evidence base for the effectiveness of a range of interventions will contribute to the national and international efforts to improve the lives of autistic people.”
Carol Povey of The National Autistic Society, said: “We welcome Caudwell Children’s new initiative, particularly their investment in researching the outcomes of different interventions for children with disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. This demonstrates clearly their commitment to ensuring that the support for children and families they fund through their generous programmes will be truly life changing.”
Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, said: “Not only are we delighted that Caudwell Children are developing a facility at the Keele University Science & Innovation Park, we are also excited to be working in partnership to develop further understanding of particular conditions in children through research collaborations between the University and the charity.
“We hope that through these types of innovative partnerships, our research impact can be maximised alongside providing the local area with a fantastic provider, in this instance of family support services, equipment, treatment and therapies for disabled children and their families.”
The Caudwell International Children’s Centre will be formally launched at The House of Lords by Baroness Angela Browning on April 3 2017.
About Caudwell Children
To date Caudwell Children has provided services worth over £39million to over 20,000 children with over 600 different medical conditions. The charity is committed to changing the lives of children by providing specialist direct family support, equipment, treatment and therapy as well as its annual ‘Destination Dreams’ holiday and their Enable Sport service.
Caudwell Children was registered in March 2000 and is widely recognised as one of the country’s fastest growing children’s charities. Since its inception the charity has doubled every pound raised, achieved through supplier partnerships, which means every pound donated works even harder.
The charity was founded by philanthropist, John Caudwell, whose vision was to create a sustainable children’s charity that offered benefactors’ transparency and peace of mind that 100% of their donation was being used to directly change children’s lives.
By donating the cost of the charity’s annual management and administration overheads, John has guaranteed an efficient way for individuals and businesses to change the lives of thousands of sick and disabled children living in the UK.
John Caudwell remains the charity’s largest benefactor and sits as Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
About Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects over half of the children Caudwell Children support and is the most prevalent neurodevelopmental condition in the world. In the UK alone, autism directly affects 2.7 million people every day and costs the UK taxpayer £32 billion per year.
Despite its prevalence, autism has no defined treatment and is among the least funded areas of research.
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