Autism support charity Daisy Chain has welcomed visitors from a German charity to Teesside with a view to forming exchange links.

Stuart Dexter, Daisy Chain chief executive, visited the Lebenshilfe charity which supports the wellbeing of people with learning disabilities and their families, as part of his Clore Social Leadership Fellowship and now the German national charity has paid a return visit to the Norton Farm and Superstore at Portrack in Stockton.

Lebenshilfe is a charitable association which offers services and facilities to allow people to live as normally and independently as possible with the aids and support they need to do so.

Visitors to Daisy Chain came from the Waltrop branch of Lebenshilfe and included chief executive Christophe Hasselpuhl and his team Michael Wamser, Silvia Veuhoff, Christoph Luecker and Tanja Freitag.

As part of his visit, Stuart toured Lebenshilfe’s residential facilities, the school it supports for children and young people with a mixture of abilities and needs including students on the autism spectrum.

Stuart said: “It was uplifting to see that an ethos of putting the clients’ needs at the centre of everything you do, helping people overcome their challenges rather than ‘caring’ for them which dovetails neatly into what we strive to achieve here at Daisy Chain. 

“We are looking to forge more formal links with Lebenshilfe which should be beneficial to both organisations with exchanges for both students and staff. There is a great deal we can learn from each other to move forward and continuously improve as for a charity to stand still and not grow, it is effectively going backwards.” 

Christoph Hasselpuh, Lebenshilfe chief executive, added: “Like Daisy Chain, Lebenshilfe is about enabling people to live the most independent and fulfilling life as possible and supporting family life. We wish to show that having learning difficulties is part of life and no-one should be discriminated against, we campaign for respect and acknowledgement. There should be lots of opportunities to achieve what they want to and enjoy life.”