SAFE was formed in 1997 as a support group because no other service was available to parents or adults with Asperger Syndrome in Essex or its unitary authorities. This is still the situation nearly 20 years on.

SAFE aims to raise awareness of Asperger syndrome; provide support for individuals and families living with Asperger syndrome; share information in order to raise the quality of care and understanding within our communities, and develop services for people and families affected by Asperger syndrome. Since SAFE was formed, hundreds have made contact and many find that talking to others with Asperger syndrome and their families, sharing experiences and feelings, helps them to cope.

SAFE provides a vital network of support for its membership of over 200 families through monthly meetings and organises a variety of projects including SAFE STUFF (Social Training Using Fun & Friendship)

– a Saturday morning club for our younger group of children aged 8-12 years that uses activities as a way of learning concrete skills in social interaction, team building and being part of a group; SAFE Youth Groups – for children ages 13+, regular clubs where teenagers can meet and socialise and take part in a wide range of activities; and ASAP (Asperger Syndrome – Adults and Parents) – our adult group aged 17+ which meets regularly to find out about independent living, supported employment and training, and organises social events to enable social interaction, friendships and relationships.

Our activities are funded through memberships, donations, and grants from trusts and foundations and local authorities. At present, we do not have any permanent staff members. We have a freelance Development Worker, Andrea Walter, and Clare Hudson is a freelance project leader for SAFE STUFF. Members volunteer to run all of our other activities including the creation and distribution of our monthly newsletters.