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Making Lewisham an autism inclusive borough

In September 2023, we published our first Lewisham All-Age Autism Strategy. The strategy represents the first step of many in Lewisham’s journey to becoming an autism-inclusive borough.

Lewisham All-Age Strategy 2023-2028

The strategy aims to ensure the London Borough of Lewisham is autism-inclusive and that our autistic population can thrive and feel safe and welcome.

The strategy was developed with the assistance of relevant services, and professionals alongside the autistic community. We are committed to implementing the strategy and its priorities as a full-working partnership group.

Lewisham Autism Partnership Board (LAPB)

The Lewisham Autism Partnership Board is a collective of Lewisham professionals, organisations and residents who work together to lead and drive forward the delivery of the Lewisham All-Age Strategy 2023-28.

The board functions include:

  • the overall plan for the delivery of the strategy 
  • to monitor and review the progression of actions and progress
  • to provide governance and transparency within the reporting process 
  • analyses and measures outcomes appropriately throughout the term
  • identifies and alleviates duplication and realignment of resources

The LAPB will report into Senior Boards and provide a report of its meetings and progress to Mayor and Cabinet on an annual basis.

For further details on the structure and purpose of board please read the terms of reference.

Action plan – priorities

Autism Partnership Priority Working Groups

There are eight priorities within the strategy which were shaped from feedback gathered from public consultations, autistic focused workshops and relevant clinical, professional and organisational input.

These priorities have been divided into three working groups responsible for coordinating their actions.

The structure for the priority working groups is built on a collaborative working arrangements with relevant representation across Lewisham as well as lived experience young advisors.

The working priority groups will report into LAPB listing action status,  gaps and challenges.

Our priorities:

  • improving understanding and acceptance of autism within the community
  • improving autistic children’s and young people’s access to education
  • improving diagnostic pathways and autism support services
  • tackling health and care inequalities for autistic people
  • supporting autistic people into employment
  • reducing mental health admissions and supporting quality inpatient care
  • improving support within the criminal and youth justice systems
  • improving experiences of caring

All-age autism support service

This service offer is a first of its kind in the Lewisham borough. Once launched, it will remain a work-in progress, reviewed and adapted to be able to offer the best fit service.

Our current autism support service is for children and young people with a formal diagnosis. It is intended that the new service will expand the local offer of support to include adults and those individuals that are waiting to be formally diagnosed. The service will also include an information hub providing increased accessibility to a wide range of information, advice and support services for parents/carer, children, young people and adults on a needs lead basis.

This service will also support the delivery of the:

  • London Borough of Lewisham SEND Strategy (2020-23)
  • Lewisham Health and Wellbeing Strategy (2013-23)

The tender of this service will be going out to procurement in late 2023 with the intention of this service to be launched by April 2024.

Get involved

There are many ways to get involved if you want to improve the experiences of autistic people in the borough. 

Examples of getting involved include:

  • personal/professional autism training uptake to increase knowledge and awareness of autism
  • your organisation offering employment placements or apprenticeships schemes for autistic individuals
  • donations with materials for activities or cash contribution towards group sessions (i.e. girls group) are most welcome

If you would like to speak to someone further about getting involved please email: autismpartnership@lewisham.gov.uk.