SPACE Helping Families With Children on the Spectrum

Last week I wrote a piece on why I’ve chosen to fundraise for a local charity called SPACE for this years World Autism Awareness Week. I wanted to take the opportunity to explain a little more about the charity and what makes them so worthy of your donation.

Space is a Hertfordshire based charity supporting parent/carers of children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum, with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a related condition. The group has been running since 2007 and became a registered charity in 2017. It started out over 10 years ago in East Herts with an autism advisory teacher and a parent/carer setting up a monthly support group for local parent/carers.

SPACE has had a dramatic transformation over the last three years taking it from the very humble beginnings to what it is today. One theme however that still holds true throughout the decade is bringing professionals and parents together in a supportive and constructive environment, to build bridges and work together to improve lives.

In October 2015 SPACE launched their online Facebook support group in order to reach out to parent/carers unable to access the monthly support groups, to provide a lifeline to often isolated families that could be accessed at any time of day. The SPACE Community was now growing at a rapid rate and the Facebook group now has in excess of 2500 members.

SPACE not only wanted to support parent/carers through the monthly groups but to be able provide high quality information, knowledge and training that was accessible to all. To provide yet more opportunity for parent/carers and professionals to come together to learn and feel empowered through workshops and conferences delivered by highly qualified and experienced individuals within the SEN field. Subjects include but are not limited to ASD, ADHD, Sensory Processing Issues, Sleep Issues and Behavioural Issues.

SPACE organise meet up’s several times a month in term time and have either a speaker or a coffee and chat session. Current meetings are held in:

Bishops Stortford
St Albans
Welwyn Garden City

SPACE have always been passionate about whole family inclusion and that is the driving force behind the SPACE family socials. Throughout the year there are numerous SPACE social events from zoos, to trampoline parks, Celtic Harmony, ice-skating and soft play to name just a few. Being able to offer often exclusive SPACE community social events is a crucial and fundamental component to what the charity offers. Social isolation is deeply impacting on a family’s emotional wellbeing.

SPACE have also been incredibly committed to developing and delivering a hugely popular teen project. Equipping teens with some of the life skills and experiences to transition into the adult world of cooking, driving, first aid and sporting achievements.

So who are SPACE? SPACE is a core of 6 parent/carer mums that have a passion and drive to pave out a better future for SEN children and their families. Bringing their personal experiences and skill sets together. That core team is joined by some fantastic parent/carer volunteers that also give of their time when and where possible.

Meet The Team

Nicky Chaperlin
Nikki is both trustee and chair of the charity. She doesn’t ever remember a time without autism in her life as both her father, brother and son have an autism diagnosis. Nicky has a background in education and has both taught and was acting head for a number of years within the SEMH provisions. With her son’s high level of needs and subsequent care her life took a different path and led her to SPACE in 2007.

Clare Brillus
Clare has been involved with the organisation since 2014. After experiencing a difficult diagnostic journey with her son, it inspired her to help support other families through the complex SEN world. Clare has gained extensive knowledge and experience over a number of years placing her in an ideal position to help lead and shape SPACE.

Karen Spencer
Karen has been involved with the organisation since 2016. Karen started her SEN journey very early on in her son’s life. She quickly identified services to equip herself knowledge to help support her son and family. Karen saw the significant need in her local community and was a driving force in bringing SPACE to West Hertfordshire and continues to lead and shape the organisation.

SPACE is a registered charity 1172178

 space pics


About the Author

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Mum of three young boys. Sharing our family journey to an Autism and ADHD diagnosis.

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