Hello all.

Here are some updates from me. Sorry it's a bit late this month, it’s all been rather busy and things have been moving fast!

  • We are through to the next stage of the People’s Postcode Lottery ‘Dream Fund’. We have applied for £866,000 to establish a stand-alone Daisy Chain employment service to be based in Stockton Town Centre. This is a very competitive grant fund - there were initially 225 applications an we are through to the final 10. The stage 2 application has to be submitted by the end of October and, should we pass this round, we will have to give a presentation in December. PPL are likely to award 2 or 3 grants. We have had to identify a partner for this project that isn’t a local authority so we are partnering with Teesside University and hopefully, Stockton Riverside College. Even if we are unsuccessful with this grant application, we would like to progress this service and can use the excellent links we’ve already made wit the university and others. Don’t pop the cork on the prosecco just yet as we still have a few hurdles to jump before being successful!

  • Our work with Dr Paul William MP continues, fighting to improve autism diagnosis waiting times. We have BBC1 Sunday Politics coming to the farm on 19th October to interview me, one of our families and to do some general filming. They will then broadcast this film on Sunday 22nd with Paul live in the studio to comment. Hopefully helping the voice of our families to be heard by those in power will continue to be a feature of Daisy Chain’s work.

  • We are starting to develop a project to submit a funding application to the new Department of Health’s Social Prescribing Fund. Social prescribing is where social type support is prescribed to reduce the reliance on medication and/or health services (a classic example was some work I did whilst with Mind - people with moderate mental health problems were prescribed walking groups, art class, etc. rather then anti-depressents).  Early days for this one but I’ll keep you informed of developments.

  • We were successful with our ‘Big Potential’ application - this will provide £60,000 worth of business support to ensure that any potential extensions or improvements to the buildings on the farm have been carefully planned and are of value and sustainable. Support will include financial modelling and business planning, market research and market testing of local need, exploration of more impact measurement and a review of governance and systems. There will be opportunities for everyone to become involved in this.

  • We are about to go live as the Autism Education Trust (AET) for the North East, focussing on early years training.

  • Strategic Plan/Vision/Mission and Values - thank you to everyone who participated in the workshops. I am pulling together the plan and will submit a draft to the trustees at the end of the month. I hope to launch the refreshed values and new strategic plan at the end of 2017.

  • Some news from my Clore Fellowship - I will be working for German Charity, Lebenshilfe in Waltrop from 4th-11th November for my Clore secondment https://www.lebenshilfe-waltrop.de/. I am also attending the ‘Happy’ Conference on 18th October https://happymanifesto.com/happy-workplaces-ceo-conference/

  • Lastly, congratulations to Angela Lang and Sophie Lawson who have both recently achieved qualifications in their respective professional fields - well done. Also, huge congratulations to April Butterworth for being shortlisted for an Anna Kennedy Online Autism Hero Award for sibling of the year - good luck in London April!

As always, any questions, comments, suggestions or recipes - let me know. Here’s one from me, I realised I never shared the recipe for my daughter’s legendary cookies, so….

(her tip is: do not over bake!!!!!)….

To Make 10 Cookies you will need:

200g butter

300g caster sugar

1 large egg

275g self-raising flour

75g cocoa powder

A little dash of milk (optional)

A large bar of white chocolate.

A large bar of milk chocolate

A large bar of dark chocolate

3 Daim bars.


Ø  Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees.


Ø  Whizz together your butter and sugar until it is a smooth consistency.


Ø  Crack in the egg and then put in your dry ingredients and blend together.


Ø  If the mixture looks to dry, add some milk.


Ø  Now for the chocolate! Break all of the chocolate into pieces and throw it into your mixture.


Ø  Very importantly, don't forget the Daim bars (they give the cookies an incredible and unexpected toffee crunch)


Ø  Once you have mixed the chocolate in, line two baking trays with greaseproof paper or foil. THEN PREPARE TO GET MESSY!


Ø  Use your hands to separate the mixture into ten blobs.


Ø  Now pop your chocolatey blobs in the oven for 11 minutes.


Ø  When you take them out, they will look uncooked, it is vital that you know this, as it will be very tempting to leave them in for longer but this could turn them hard and overcooked once they are cool.


Ø  So take your cookies out of the oven after 11 minutes, and let them cool for 30 minutes.