eden futures

23rd February 2021 • Emma Cooper

Eden Futures’ service, Cherry Trees in Nottinghamshire, has been awarded Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society; the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families.

Autism Accreditation is an autism-specific quality assurance programme. It was set up by the National Autistic Society in 1992 to improve the support available to autistic people in organisations throughout the UK and across the world; including local authorities, NHS trusts, education authorities, schools, colleges and more. To gain Accreditation, organisations must meet a standard of excellence and follow a framework for continuous self-examination and development. 

Eden Futures supports adults who are autistic, have learning disabilities, enduring mental ill health and high support needs across northern England and the Midlands. 

Commenting Lorna Durrant, Head of Specialist Strategies and Outcomes, explains:  “This accreditation is fantastic news and is testament to the incredible work the team do supporting autistic people. They clearly demonstrate the vision and values of our business – Brave, Positive, Responsive, Well-led and Caring and Compassionate.”

She continued, “The service was visited by an accreditation advisor and hosted by one of our autistic Experts by Experience who lives in the service. The advisor found the autistic people we support ‘presented as feeling safe and calm, with proactive and preventative strategies in place to avoid anxiety, confusion, or distress’ and that we demonstrated the ability to help autistic people to ‘understand and regulate their emotions’. The advisor reported it was ‘clear to see that there was an obvious rapport between staff and autistic people with a genuine sense of mutual respect and care.‘”

Continuously, “The advisor went on to say; ‘Cherry Trees has a strong staff team who demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the residents they support and show a clear understanding of why they are using specific strategies to support individuals.’ The ‘passion and vision’ of the service manager was highlighted as promoting a ‘‘can do’ attitude and encouraging positive risks to be taken’.

“The Eden Futures Expert by Experience programme was also applauded by the advisor as offering ‘autistic people genuine training and employment opportunities, ensuring that the voices of those with lived experiences are listened to and valued’.”

Moreover, there are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK. Because it’s a spectrum, every autistic person is different and will have their own strengths and face varying challenges. Some autistic children and adults need 24-hour care and support and won’t be able to work.  

Eden Futures’ Cherry Trees service should be very proud of its achievement.  We launched our Autism Accreditation programme over 25 years ago and set extremely high standards, which Cherry Trees has worked hard to meet. We hope other organisations and services will follow their lead and work with us to improve the way they support autistic people.

Stephen Dedridge, Head of Autism Accreditation (South) at the National Autistic Society