Drop-in centre for autistic children at the Pitstop

20170316- Pitstop Sensory Room
Clockwise from front centre - Rhoan, dad Wayne Gorman, Dawn Balfour, Dawn Mullady and Lynne Devine clearing out the area for the sensory room at the Pitstop, Forfar. 

� Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES

No use without payment.

20170316- Pitstop Sensory Room Clockwise from front centre - Rhoan, dad Wayne Gorman, Dawn Balfour, Dawn Mullady and Lynne Devine clearing out the area for the sensory room at the Pitstop, Forfar. � Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES No use without payment.

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Drop-in centre for youngsters with autism the first open to public in Angus and Dundee

The project came to light following a chance meeting between Wayne Gorman, whose three-and-a-half-year-old son Rhoan is undergoing assessment for ASD, and Angus Councillor Lynne Devine.

The former weaving room on the ground floor of the Pitstop in Academy Street was identified as the ideal location for the drop-in facility, and since then fundraising has sprung in to action and a team of volunteers has started work on creating the room which will feature various lights, retreats, soft flooring and other sensory equipment.

The project is being organised by Pitstop representatives in conjunction with local volunteer group, Autism Support Angus and Dundee, and local parents.

Wayne told us: “There will be a small crafts area and reading area next to the sensory room. It will be a Saturday afternoon opening, planned to be weekly, and is open to families who care for children either undergoing ASD assessment or with a diagnosis.

“This would, to my knowledge, be the first facility of its type, publicly accessible, in Angus and Dundee.

“We are looking for local support and good old fashioned community spirit.”

Part of the ground floor of the building, run by the Forfar Drugs Initiative Group, is being transformed in the project.

The community sensory room will be available as a drop-in facility for children with ASD.

Wayne continued: “The estimated cost of this project lies between £1500-£2000 in total, which would allow it to be self sufficient for a period of time.”

The group has received donations from a number of companies including Touch of Class; Don and Low (Forfar); J & D Wilkie (Kirriemuir); Autism Support Angus and Dundee and The Oak Tree Van hire in Forfar.

The Police Scotland Youth Volunteers have offered to do a bag pack and Scottish Water’s volunteer service may be providing some assistance for the project.

A crowdfunding page has also been set up - visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Pitstopsensorydropin?utm_id=2&utm_term=aNDVN5yjr

It is hoped the new facility will open in May.

Councillor Devine said: “I am delighted with this. We had been discussing the way forward for the Pitstop and how we would love to create a drop-in place for families with autistic children and the very next night I met Wayne at a meeting on autism.”