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Referrals and waiting Lists for A-ND Services (May 2024 update)

At A-ND, our mission is to support autistic and neurodiverse individuals and their families to live happy and fulfilled lives across the north of Scotland. Due to overwhelming demand, we have made some critical updates regarding our service referrals and waiting lists.


Aberdeen Playscheme:

Our Aberdeen Playscheme waiting list has been closed for some time and currently has 15 children awaiting a place as of 21st May 2024. The demand for our Aberdeen Playscheme continually far exceeds our capacity, with many children joining our playscheme and remaining for years until they age out. We are delighted to welcome up to 10 new children and families into our Aberdeen Playscheme in the coming months, which will enable us to re-open our waiting list in summer 2024. We close our waiting list and referrals for our Aberdeen Playscheme once it reaches 15, with the average waiting time for a place being between 12 to 24 months.


Aberdeen Afterschool:

Referrals remain open for children requiring afterschool support at our Aberdeen Playscheme. This service is provided for a minimum of 2 hours per session, between the hours of 3pm and 8pm, Monday to Friday throughout the school term. Please contact our head office or email us at referrals@a-nd.org.uk 


Aberdeen City Outreach:

Referrals remain open for children, families and adults. Please contact our head office or email us at referrals@a-nd.org.uk


Aberdeenshire Outreach:

Due to an exceptionally high demand, we have had to close referrals for our Aberdeenshire Outreach service. Currently, we have 34 individuals (11 adults and 23 children) requiring 97 hours of support per week on our waiting list, and we close our referrals when a maximum capacity of circa. 100 hours per week is waiting to be allocated. While we are tirelessly working to build our capacity and meet this demand, our staffing limitations are a significant barrier. Despite receiving many applicants, we prioritise quality over quantity, ensuring that those we recruit are the right fit for providing exceptional support.


Moray Outreach:

Our Moray waiting list is also closed as of May 2024. The local authority has stopped referring children, adults, and families to us until we can expand our capacity. We appreciate the understanding of our partners in Moray regarding the challenges we face with staff recruitment and retention. While social workers have been supportive, it's disappointing that Moray Council has not offered any support in helping us find a suitable building for a permanent playscheme. Such a facility would enable us to at least double our current provision. Despite nearly three years of effort, we have not succeeded in securing a permanent premises or facility, although we continue to seek partners and supporters to help make this a reality.


Highland Outreach:

On a positive note, our Highland Outreach service is now fully operational and accepting referrals - to refer please contact us with details of what support you require by emailing referrals@a-nd.org.uk. Earlier this month, we began supporting our first child and family with our new Highland Team, led by Holly and Maria and we look forward to growing this service. While we want to support everyone in need, our service operates from Dingwall and within a 20-mile radius. Due to demand, it is likely referrals will only remain open for a few more weeks. We encourage those seeking outreach support to contact us quickly. We provide outreach support to neurodiverse indivduals of all ages, from children right trhough adults.


Dingwall Playscheme:

We originally hoped to launch our dedicated autism and neurodiverse-specific playscheme in Dingwall by July 2024. However, delays with obtaining change of use approval from Highland Council have pushed our revised opening to October 2024. Once we have all formal permissions and the lease is secured, we will announce the formal launch date and begin recruiting for our Dingwall afterschool and playscheme staff. Our goal is to operate this service 7 days a week, year-round, with specific hours Monday to Sunday. This is subject to Care Inspectorate registration, but indications are positive.


Funding and Support:

We often receive questions about how our services are funded. Unfortunately, we cannot provide our outreach, afterschool, or playscheme services for free, as we need to pay our staff a real living wage. Most of our support is funded through SDS, with some individuals or families able to self-fund. Please contact your local social department or our team to learn how to apply for SDS.


Monthly Updates:

We will announce monthly at the end of each month whether our referrals remain closed for each service, when they will re-open, and provide updates on our waiting lists.


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.


Thank you for your continued support as we strive to meet the needs of our community.


Best regards,

The A-ND Team




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