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Posted: 9th May 2024

Youth activities resume, thanks to City Bridge!

Sycamore Trust UK are delighted to announce that one of the most important services we offer is resuming after a brief hiatus, thanks to the support of the City Bridge Foundation – London’s biggest independent charity funder.

The Sycamore Trust life skills programme has been supporting autistic children and young people aged 10-17, living in Barking & Dagenham, Havering, or Redbridge since 2019, but the programme was halted recently, when funding dried up. Sycamore Trust submitted an ambitious bid for three years’ funding to City Bridge Foundation last year and staff were thrilled to learn that their application had been accepted. Now, thanks to this funding, the life skills project restarted at the end of April and once again offers valuable support to young autistic people in the area.

The Autism Ambassadors visited City Hall in 2019

Sycamore Trust CEO Cheryl Kearney said. “We were delighted when we heard the news that our funding bid had been successful. The life skills programme is an important project because it helps the autistic young people to navigate a neuro-typical world that can often be overwhelming and stressful, as well as creating new friendships. It also provides valuable respite for parents and siblings.”

The programme is open to young people aged 10 to 17 years old with a diagnosis of mild to moderate {higher functioning) autism who live in Barking & Dagenham, Havering, or Redbridge. Young people who live in one of the three boroughs and have been referred to CAMHS for an autism assessment may also be eligible.

Running for 12-months from April to the following March, the members cover 30 life skills topics split into six modules:

  • Relationships
  • Social Skills
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Independent Travel
  • Independent Living
  • Wellbeing and Mental Health

City Bridge Foundation Chairman Giles Shilson said: “We’re really pleased that our funding has enabled the life skills programme to restart. It will have a profound effect on young people’s lives, delivering practical skills and experience, and boosting their confidence, independence and self-esteem.”

City Bridge Foundation chairman, Giles Shilson

The programme is an enhanced version of one Sycamore Trust delivered from 2019 to 2023 and they know from experience that it helps to boost young people’s self-confidence, independence, and general wellbeing. A typical session involves each group spending half an hour working on a life skills topic followed by a fun activity chosen to promote social interaction and teamwork. The life skills groups will run three nights a week in term time, from venues in Dagenham and Rainham.

Sycamore Trust is currently building the waiting list for the April 2025 intake. If wish to express an interest in referring a young person for the April 2025 intake, you can contact Sycamore Trust by emailing activities@sycamoretrust.org.uk 

About City Bridge Foundation

City Bridge Foundation is a world-class bridge owner responsible for five Thames crossings – including the iconic Tower Bridge – and London’s biggest independent charity funder. It awards over £30 million a year in grants to charitable organisations across London, and has made a further £200 million available over the five years to 2026 to support the capital’s charity sector. The foundation has been bridging London and connecting communities for over 900 years. Its sole trustee is the City of London Corporation – the governing body for the Square Mile. www.citybridgefoundation.org.uk