North East-based autism charity, Daisy Chain, is thrilled to announce the receipt of over £290,000 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund. This funding will enable the organisation to launch innovative community hubs across the Tees Valley in September, tackling high rates of loneliness and isolation among autistic and neurodivergent adults.

The exciting initiative, known as the My Life, My Community project, will establish community social groups offering a range of engaging activities and life skills workshops, covering topics such as travel training, cooking simple healthy meals, and community safety. The sessions will be designed in collaboration with lived-experience group members through regular consultation, ensuring their needs and preferences are met.

Hayley Matthews, Head of Adult Services at Daisy Chain, expressed gratitude for the 3-year funding received from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest community funder in the UK. She explained, “Promoting community inclusion for autistic adults is crucial for addressing loneliness, enhancing mental health, fostering personal growth, challenging stigma, empowering individuals, and advocating for equal rights and opportunities. It is a fundamental step towards creating a more inclusive and supportive society for all.

“Autistic people are four times more likely to be lonely compared to the general population, with 79% reporting feelings of social isolation. This is unacceptable, and our new service aims to create accessible spaces across the region where autistic adults can connect, develop friendships, and be empowered to grow and thrive within their own local community.”

The National Lottery Community Fund awards grants to strengthen society and improve lives across the UK. Thanks to National Lottery players, it will distribute at least £4 billion by 2030, supporting activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable.

Duncan Nicholson, Head of Funding for the North East & Cumbria at The National Lottery Community Fund said: “Thanks to National Lottery players and the hard work and dedication of local groups and projects, such as Daisy Chain, this funding will make a big difference to people’s lives across the Tees Valley.

“The award fits with The National Lottery Community Fund’s four key missions, which are to support communities to come together, be environmentally sustainable, help children and young people thrive and enable people to live healthier lives.

“We hope this award will ensure more autistic and neurodivergent adults throughout the region receive the support they need to thrive and grow.”

National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. Thanks to them, last year The National Lottery Community Fund was able to distribute over half a billion pounds (£615.4 million) of life-changing funding to communities. To find out more visit

This project is an expansion of Daisy Chain’s existing adult club offering and is likely to be in high demand – register your interest by emailing or visiting 



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