THE BORDERS Asperger & Autism Group Support (BAAGS) is on its way to raising the £16,000 needed for a new caravan for carers’ respite in Berwick.
Jedburgh-based charity The World According to Cory, set up by Dawn Jackson after her four-year-old son was diagnosed with autism, raised £6,000 for BAAGS last year which will go towards the van.
BAAGS chairman Derek Purvis said: “We were absolutely over-whelmed with the amount they raised and were honoured to have been given such an amount of money.
“We pledged that not only would this money be used to continue with our respite/short-break facility Carer-Van, we would try to build on that amount and purchase a new carer-van, a newer model which would be more economical on the environment, more comfortable furnishings, but still affordable to the families who need it.”
Other fundraisers have helped. In April supporter Andy Monk walked 219 miles from his home in Bury, Lancashire to Milngavie in Glasgow, raising an estimated £1,000, though money is still coming in.
In the same month Galashiels fundraiser Steve Paterson had hoped to walk 175 miles from Milngavie to Inverness in 12 days but a knee injury halted his efforts after he completed the West Highland Way but before he could start the Great Glen Way. Even so BAAGS thinks Steve, who goes to hospital for knee surgery to repair tissue and ligament damage this month, may have raised about £1,000 also.
In February Carol Campbell, mum of one of BAAGS’ members, raised more than £1,000 for BAAGS at a race night she organised in Hawick.
Meanwhile, last year Earlston High School’s sixth-year pupils’ charities committee chose BAAGS as their local charity and next month will present it with a possible £1,500 or so raised at the school’s Leavers’ Night.
The group will also have a store collection at Tesco in July to boost the van funds.
Mr Purvis said: “The respite/short-break facility is not only used by families from the Borders, but also from the rest of Scotland and, on occasion, further afield.
“The one thing these families all have in common is they live with autism every day of their lives, they all need a break, and they all deserve to be able to have a break they can afford without fear of judgement, isolation or stigma … The carer-van is for them.”
His wife Rodelle, also on the BAAGS committee, said the group would have about £10,000 when the money was collected in and that it had applied to Scottish Borders Council for funding too.
“We’re almost there and I think we will be able to reach the target by the end of the summer.”
“We are just so honoured and proud, it’s difficult to find the words to describe it, it’s just awesome. It’s not just the money – which is huge – it’s that people we don’t know have given 50p or £5, support to such a hidden cause – especially when there is cancer – that makes it all the more breathtaking.”
For more information visit www.baags.co.uk