A ‘lifeline’ support group for vulnerable young people with autism is under threat after its rent was increased.
Fusion Autism Youth Group based at Portobello Community Centre in Wakefield helps young people from across West Yorkshire communicate, make friends and get involved with activities they might otherwise miss out on.
But group founder Karen Binns said the centre was forced to increase its rent charges and now the future of the group was in doubt and dependent on donations.
She said: “I can’t consider closing, I know how much the group means to people.
“A lot of members are vulnerable adults and easy to mislead – it’s such a lifeline for them.
“Young people with autism often try to hide it and they can’t. You feel like a freak and you just want to be normal. You feel like a lesser human being.
“The group can help people understand they’re not worth less, they’re just different.
“I know how low people can get.”
She stressed she did not hold the centre or its board of directions responsible.
She said: “I don’t blame anybody for it, it’s just circumstances. The lady who runs the building is lovely.
“All the groups who use it are in the same situation.”
Fusion is also looking for new members.
Karen said it would help spread the rental costs and offer something better to young people who might be sitting at home struggling by themselves.
Karen said: “Autism doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Autistic people can teach you so much and although I am autistic myself I have learnt so much from Fusion members.
“If you can get to know a person with autism they will show you beauty you’ve never before seen with the purest of hearts and souls, despite the struggles that constantly impact on them.”
Search Fusion Autism Group on gofundme.com to donate.