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Scottish Autism statement on coronavirus

Commenting on the evolving coronavirus pandemic, Dorry McLaughlin, Chief Executive at Scottish Autism, said: “As a charity that provides support and services for autistic people and their families in communities throughout Scotland, we believe it is essential to introduce measures aimed at minimising the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This includes making hand sanitisers available across all of our services and providing thermometers for all staff so they can monitor the temperatures of those we support as well as our colleagues should they have any health-related concerns.

“We have asked staff members to avoid attending public events in large groups to reduce the risk of several colleagues becoming infected and off their work simultaneously. Following the excellent advice available via NHS Inform, we are asking any colleagues who have developed a cough or fever in the past seven days to self-isolate for seven days. We have also reminded all colleagues of the Government health guidelines around Coronavirus, notably about hand-washing and the 111 emergency hotline.

“By introducing these precautionary measures, Scottish Autism aims to continue delivering services and support across the country as usual. Carefully following NHS and Government advice, we will be keeping colleagues, those we support and their families updated with new information on the situation as it emerges.

“At what is becoming an increasingly anxious time for many, we will continue to do everything we can to keep our staff, the people we support and other stakeholders as safe as possible.”

**Update: In response to the most recent UK and Scottish Governments official guidance around COVID-19, Scottish Autism have made the careful decision to change the way we operate.The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and individuals we support is our priority.

Due to the recent UK and Scottish Government advice on 23rd March 2020, and with the wellbeing of those we support and our staff in mind, we have made some temporary changes to our service provision. Whilst our residential and home support services continue to be fully resourced, our day and outreach services across Scotland will be temporarily suspended. Where possible, reduced services will run and delivery may be different as we focus on delivering the most critical services at this time. All those we support, family members and involved professionals have been informed of the relevant changes. We will continue to review the situation and do our best to re-introduce services as and when we can. With some services suspended we would ask that any service enquiries are directed to our main line at 01259 720044.

Staff will, wherever possible, be redeployed to support the operation of essential services. Therefore the autism advisors will be unable to answer calls to our Advice Line, but can respond to emails. If you wish to contact one of our advisors please send an e-mail to the team at advice@scottishautism.org. If you would prefer a call back, please request this and provide your contact information.
Please note that it might take slightly longer for an advisor to respond to your enquiry.

In addition to this, there will be a limited number of Head Office staff, with most staff working from home for the foreseeable future. These changes will help to keep everybody safe. 

Makers Cafe and Café Kudos will be closed as of Wednesday 17th March 2020 until further notice. This is in response to the most recent UK and Scottish Governments official guidance around COVID-19.

Gartinny Nurseries will also be closed for the foreseeable future to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people we support and our staff.

New Struan School will close on Thursday 19th March at 3pm until further notice. The education team will be contactable to support pupils and families during this uncertain time. 

This is an evolving situation and we are continually monitoring and assessing information from the WHO and the UK and Scottish Governments

NHS Inform Scotland website 
UK Government Coronavirus guidance website 
World Health Organisation 

Many thanks,

Scottish Autism