BLACKPOOL Tiggers HQ may be a little bit tatty to look at – but the building is a haven according to families who regularly gather there.
This week The Gazette launched its latest campaign Bouncing High for Autism.
Local people have been asked to dig deep into their pockets to help local charity Blackpool Tiggers secure its future.
Tiggers is an activity group for autistic children run solely by parents and volunteers, and £40,000 is urgently needed to bring the centre’s outdated building up to date.
The group received £8,000 in grants from the Government’s Aiming High fund to begin a major renovation of the site.
But if urgent work does not start this month – the cash could be lost.
Life without the centre would be bleak according to Marton mum Teresa Gresswell.
Her 10-year-old son Adam was recently diagnosed with Semantic Pragmetic Disorder a condition between autism and Aspergers Syndrome.
The 48-year-old told The Gazette: “I started coming here a year ago and without it now I don’t think I’d cope, I’d just go mad.
“I used to lie awake and cry myself to sleep before Tiggers.
“The staff have been at the end of the phone while I’ve just sobbed and sobbed and having other mums who are going through the same thing is such a comfort.
“It can be so isolating with autism, I knew something was different about Adam from when he was very young but you can feel like nobody is listening.”
The condition affects Adam in a number of ways, he cannot cope well with noise which is common.
He is also highly intelligent and his often adult way of speaking and interacting can intimidate other children.
The condition means he has an enormous capacity for taking in complex information and can occasionally speak in a language others cannot understand.
Although academically Adam is a high flyer, his condition means he finds it hard to make friends.
Mrs Gresswell added: “I get so upset because I would love him to have a couple of little friends by now, he’s only a young boy and it’s heartbreaking.
“I had to take him out of Cubs because he was being picked on, you feel so helpless.
“Children don’t mean to be cruel but they don’t understand.
“Tiggers has changed this, he gets to mix with other children and has made friends.
“He loves trampolining and was asked to compete in a competition recently, he was thrilled the sight of his smile was priceless to me.
“I’d give Tiggers a million pounds if I had it.”
n If you can help Tiggers contact Lisa at The Gazette on (01253) 361730 or go to www.blackpooltiggers.co.uk