Havering charity celebrates move to new home

A charity for parents with autistic children has been thrown a lifeline.

The Romford Autistic Support Group (RAGS) is celebrating after relocating to new premises in Victora Road, Romford from today (Monday January 7).

Anne Myatt, the CEO of RAGS said: “It’s very exciting for us.

“It’s a good start to the year because our membership has been growing and growing, but we haven’t had the space to accomadate them properly, but these new premises mean that we can provide more services for them.”

RAGS, which was previously based in a unit in the Seedbed Centre in Davidson Way, Romford has been given the premises for free for the first three months, meaning that the money that they save during that time can be used to provide additional services.

After the three month period, Lodge Care Group, who own the property, has agreed for RAGS to pay the same rate that they were paying at their old premises.

The new building boasts a top floor space, which will be converted to office space.

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One of the rooms on the ground floor of the property is set to be used as a meeting space for parents, while the other room will be used for the children and young people.

Anne said: “Our old premises was like a garage, but in the new building we have proper rooms and it is going to make a huge difference to us.

“We knew that our new building was no longer fit for purpose, but we knew that we could never afford to move.”

She added: “They have given us a lifeline and sometimes when I think about it, I think it must be too good to be true.”

The charity was started ten years by a group of dads of autistic children, who wanted to spend some time away from their children where they could talk to other adults with similar concerns.

Since then the charity has grown and now provides a number of services for autistic children and their families.

But like many charities, RAGS has struggled with money problems due to the recession.

The Lodge Care Group offered the charity the premises as a way of relieving some of its money worries and allowing them to concentrate more on its services.

Anne said: “This is a wonderful gift.

“We had a definate need for a new building and I think that having a building that is more visibile will encourage more people to get involved.”

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