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Surbiton mums open their own autism cafe
Two Surbiton mums have set up a cafe for autistic children.
Tracey Gaggiotti, 41, and Annette Williams, 42, who have children with autism, are setting up a cafe in Tolworth where young people and their families can socialise and receive support.
Mrs Gaggiotti said: “We want to set up something that is going to assist carers and also provide support services to families all week.
“There are some good services going round, but they are all subject to cuts.”
The Express Cafe is a community interest company, where all the profits will go back into the business, as well as offering services such as work experience and social skills.
Mrs Gaggiotti said: “Work experience for young people in the [autistic] spectrum would be really useful. Currently only 15 per cent of young people with autism are being employed.”
There are more than 300 families in the borough affected by autism, a disability affecting how people communicate with, and relate to, other people.
Mrs Gaggiotti said: “There is support, but it is limited.
“Children in mainstream schools are not getting the services they need.”
The project is still in the early stages and the mums are looking for help fundraising and with advice.
They are receiving support from Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey, and charities such as Ambitious about Autism.
Patricia Bamford, Kingston Council’s member for children and young people, said: “I welcome this innovative way to try and plug what is seen as a gap in the services.
“We are doing all we can to protect our front line, and we have done all we can to protect the most vulnerable.”