Teams of volunteers have been working to revamp a Preston building, set to become a centre for people with autism.
Preston Autism Resource Centre, or PARC, is due to open early next year, to provide education and training and build community awareness.
Charity workers and bank staff teamed up to transform the building near Moor Park, as part of an “amazing” project.
Beth Gordon, outreach and autism resource centre manager with the National Autistic Society, said: “It’s an autism specific environment providing education and training for people. It is building community awareness, building people’s social skills, and trying to find work supporting people in the community.”
She said the centre, aimed at people over 16, would work with parents and families to offer support. Beth said: “Because the building is so structurally sound for people with autism, it can cater for all different ages.
“The idea is it is really flexible with a variety of different things for different people.”
Rooms in the centre will have different themes, and will include an arts and crafts area, a music and drama room and an ICT suite.
Claire Graham, deputy area manager for the north with the National Autistic Society, approached Santander to ask if they could help with the project. She said: “It is amazing, we are working in partnership but immediately the guys were talking about the needs of the people we are working with. Some of the wallpaper is really quite busy and would cause difficulties for people with sensory difficulties, and they just got it and they covered it up. I thought we raised quite a lot of awareness, just by doing that.”
Natalie Mullany, of Santander, said they had a team of about 25 people helping, and had donated £250 towards the materials. She said: “We’ve got branch directors and divisional managers all here painting. It’s so easy to get people to help.”
Team leader Adam Haworth described the bank’s contribution as a “massive help”. The centre will cater for people who have a diagnosis of autism. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07436 267399.