London Masons through the Masonic Charitable Foundation have helped fund a new Assistive Technologist for the Ambitious about Autism charity who enable young people with complex autism to communicate more effectively through technology.

The £60,000 grant to Ambitious about Autism will fund an Assistive Technologist over three years, who will enable young people with complex autism to
communicate more effectively through technology. The young people all attend Ambitious College which is a specialist autism day college based in The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) and West Thames College.

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said: “We’re very grateful to London Freemasons for their generous grant, which will provide
immediate support to autistic young people who have been deeply affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. This grant will also have a long-term impact,
allowing our team of experts to develop new ways of supporting autistic young people that will improve many more lives in the future.”

The goal is to identify the right technology for each young person, and enable them to use it to best effect in order to pursue their education and communicate their needs. Families and carers will also receive training, so they can understand the technology, learn how to fix problems and to support their child to use it at home.

The enormous range of technology on the market whilst exciting, can be difficult to understand without specialist knowledge. The Assistive Technologist
is a special role as it will bring this specialist knowledge in technology, teaching and autism combined.

The project is expected to help 480 people in total. The 90 young people with autism, 90 family members and 300 education professionals, including speech and language therapists, behaviour support workers, teachers and occupational therapists.

London Masons’ Charity Steward Tony Shields, said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Ambitious about Autism, who do wonderful work for young people with autism. New technology offers major opportunities to help them improve their wellbeing in ways that were not possible
only a few years ago and this will allow many of them and their families to take full advantage of it. This is another example of Freemasons supporting the London community. This follows on from a £2.5 million donation from London Freemasons to London Fire Brigade. The funding will provide London Fire Brigade with two extended height aerial vehicles, response cars and ancillary aerial equipment.”

The grant from London Masons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends,
from across England and Wales.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 42 October 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 42.