About Avalon - Our Story

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Our

BUILD IT & THEY WILL COME

So I have established a charity called Avalon Parental Support and Respite Services to provide support to parents and families caring for children with autism. The charity is named after my daughter Ava as she has provided me with the source of inspiration and strength to do something meaningful to turn this difficult experience into an opportunity to help others.   

It is through providing this support that we hope Avalon can be the light that shines brightest for parents and families in their darkest and most challenging days.

ACTION

We educated ourselves about Autism by researching the subject day and night. We watched videos, read scientific papers and read almost every book we could lay our hands on. We battled with the health service to gain access to critical early intervention which we learned was essential for Ava to reach her potential. However, progress was slow due to the lack of resources in place and long waiting times.

Therefore, we self-funded this support ourselves which included speech and language therapy with an autism specialist and sound therapy. We paid for as much early intervention as we could afford which placed a heavy financial burden on our family at the time. We also managed to secure a specialist nursery placement in a communication centre as well as additional one to one support for Ava from a local charity.

GRIEF & LOSS

Throughout this period, we were thrust into multiple roles as Ava’s advocate, teacher, speech therapist and parents whilst juggling busy careers to help finance the additional therapies Ava needs to her reach her potential.

All the while our own mental and physical wellbeing was deteriorating under the pressure of the diagnosis and all that this meant for Ava and our family. Our expectations of parenthood had been completely shattered and both my husband and I were grieving for the life we had within our grasp but so quickly lost.

In the early days, we focused all of our energy into securing the right support for Ava in the hope that this would make everything better. Although, we soon realised this was not happening as the feelings of grief and loss remained.

Every milestone brought about new challenges, difficulties and in some cases disappointments and we were just at the beginning. At times we struggled to cope with the silence and would drink a few glasses of wine at night to numb the pain while masking signs of depression from the outside world.

 

NO SUPPORT

We reached out for support from some established charities. To our surprise there was very little support available for the parents and families coping with similar challenges. The majority of support available was geared towards individuals with autism and or training for parents and professionals at a cost.

All of this was useful but it was not the kind of support required by desperate parents struggling to come to terms with an Autism diagnosis. After meeting with other parents it became clear that there was a massive gap in support for parents and families so we decided to do something about it.

I contacted a Business and Life Coach and by coincidence he had a Grandson with autism that was also non-verbal. This coaching partnership provided a great source of strength to me. We worked on a personal growth plan to help me regain my emotional strength and daily happiness. My health and personal fitness is now a daily priority and I have replaced unhelpful habits with new ones that serve me well. I study personal growth strategies daily to master my emotions and I am now setting big life goals that will help me to make a difference in the lives of others.

BUILD IT & THEY WILL COME

So I have established a charity called Avalon Parental Support and Respite Services to provide support to parents and families caring for children with autism. The charity is named after my daughter Ava as she has provided me with the source of inspiration and strength to do something meaningful to turn this difficult experience into an opportunity to help others.   

It is through providing this support that we hope Avalon can be the light that shines brightest for parents and families in their darkest and most challenging days.

Meet the

Pamela

Pamela

Pamela is the founder and chairperson for Avalon and was inspired to establish the charity following the birth of her daughter Ava who has autism. Pamela an experienced Senior Leader within Learning and Development and has over 15 year experience working within the private sector.

Gerry

Gerry

Gerry was a Senior Consultant with Working Links, one of the leading Welfare to Work providers in the UK, supporting the delivery of business strategy, in a rapidly changing environment. This support entailed providing L and D support across UK, by delivering executive coaching,

Jenni

Jenni

For the last 3.5 years Jennie worked as a wellbeing carer for people living in a care home, focussing mainly on dementia strategies.

William

William

William has a multi-faceted background with extensive experience working with the Civil Service, local authority and the financial services sector. More recently he has worked within the field of Career Guidance supporting Veterans to make the transition back into civilian life and sustainable careers.

Kenneth

Kenneth

Kenneth has been managing the personal finances of successful individuals and their families for over 3 decades. He joined the Financial Services profession in June 1981 and, over the next 4 years, established himself as a top performing member at the Paisley district office of Prudential Assurance.

Les

Les

Les has several years experience in retail management and developing people. He is a qualified web designer, eLearning developer and digital marketing consultant.

He is also an Army veteran and has recently supported veterans with their transition back into civilian life.

Volunteers

Volunteers

Thinking of volunteering?
We provide assistance to parents and families supporting those on the autistic spectrum. Therefore, to help shape and fund we are seeking the support of parents, grand-parents, siblings and friends, families and local communities.

There are plenty of ways to support Avalon both big and small; like hosting a dress down day at work, hosting a breakfast morning and or taking on a bigger challenge like at sponsored walk, 10k and half marathon.

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We Need Your Help

We will offer a range of support to parents and families including practical support and information about autism, signposting to relevant support and early intervention, peer mentoring and personalised programmes to enhance general wellbeing and resilience. We need your help to accomplish this.

Donate or contact us to see how you can make a difference