Duncan Bannatyne and Trudi Beswick in the Thank You Garden

Duncan Bannatyne visits Caudwell Children to cut ribbon on autism assessment suite

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Duncan Bannatyne has officially cut the ribbon on an autism assessment suite at a children’s centre in Staffordshire.

Bannatyne visited the Caudwell International Children’s Centre in Keele with daughter Eve to officially open a specialist suite that the former Dragon’s Den star has sponsored.

The suite is a distraction-free, neutral space that has been specifically designed to reduce anxiety and put children at ease during the autism assessment process.

However, the suite is kitted out with adaptable LED lighting and a range of sensory toys that can be brought into the space to meet the individual needs of every child that visits the centre.

Caudwell Children opened its innovative Autism Service on the campus of Keele University in 2019 – with the entire building designed to be a welcoming and reassuring environment for children.

Since then, the centre has worked with the NHS and local authorities to reduce autism assessment waiting lists for children in Staffordshire and right across the UK.

Duncan Bannatyne said:

“I’ve been a supporter of Caudwell Children for some time – and I was so impressed with my first visit to the centre.

“It’s been designed with the children in mind. For example, I had no idea how important it is to have a private outdoor space available from every assessment room.

“This gives children chance to regulate their emotions if they’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. I hadn’t considered how important that would be. Every detail has been thought of here.

“It’s a really impressive centre.”

Duncan Bannatyne is a long-term supporter of Caudwell Children and regularly attends the charity’s fundraising events – donating funds to support the charity’s work.

His daughter Eve works with autistic children at a specialist school in Yorkshire and visited Caudwell Children to see how the charity’s clinical staff support children and families through the assessment process and post-diagnosis support.

Caudwell Children CEO Trudi Beswick said:

“Duncan’s support means so, so much to Caudwell Children and especially the children and families that we support.

“It’s such a pleasure to have one of our most generous supporters visit the Caudwell International Children’s Centre to see how that generosity changes lives.”

As well as running its Autism Service, Caudwell Children provides equipment, treatments and therapies for children with any disability.

To find out more about Caudwell Children’s services, visit: www.caudwellchildren.com/services