Community Focus: RAGS

RAGS provide help and support for families whose lives are touched by Autism. We believe that every person with autism has potential to fulfil, and we enable this by supporting the entire family - parents, siblings and the individual with autism.

RAGS was founded in 2003 by a group of Havering parents who have children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. To celebrate its 10 year anniversary RAGS will host a Charity Ball on 27th September at Harefield Manor Hotel in Romford. (See flyer for more information – Tickets still available) You can view the details by clicking HERE

RAGS new premisis in Victoria Road Romford

RAGS is a Parent led Charity supporting families of children with Autism in Havering. The Management committee is made up of parents and people with personal experience and/or an interest in autism.

RAGS aim for children and adults with autism is for them to be healthy, to stay safe, to enjoy and achieve. We endeavour to achieve those aims through the activities we organise which will help to: reduce social isolation, learn new skills, particularly social skills and improve emotional health and wellbeing.

A weekly programme of activities, funded in part by London Borough of Havering, provides much needed after school/college provision. Apart from Tuesdays, every other night of the week across the borough a variety of specialist activities take place including: Arts & Crafts, Drama, Multi Sports, Computer and Science Fiction Club. In addition a youth club for youngsters aged 14 to 25 years is popular and enables members to chill out, socialise and relax in a supportive friendly environment.

During the school holidays extra activities are organised for the whole family to attend. Regular exclusive sessions at an indoor play area called Timbuk2 being the most popular, during May half term over 70 children joined in the fun and games. Family picnics at a sensory playground at Corbets Tey School and swimming at Chaffords Pool in Rainham are also important events on the RAGS calendar during the long summer break.

A bespoke holiday scheme takes place at a local special school for 6 days during the summer holidays for young people with complex needs who are unable to access other provision specialist provision. This scheme is funded by the London Borough of Havering. On average eight youngsters attend, their age range from six to fifteen years.

During the scheme a variety of opportunities are offered including art and craft, cooking, gardening outdoor, soft room and sensory play. Youngsters are encouraged to communicate choices of activity, refreshments and personal needs (such as toileting/breaks/calm time) using special communication methods including PECS, Makaton signing, speech or gesturing.

RAGS staff and volunteers promoting the organisation at an event

A group of young people from RAGS have made several short informative and entertaining films providing insight into the condition from their unique perspective. The films have been critically acclaimed and are used as a training resource for social workers, teaching assistants, parent/carers and youth workers. RAGS has its own YouTube channel delivering a positive message on behalf of our community. Our films can be accessed by the general public which has been instrumental in raising awareness and promoting RAGS to a wider audience. Our channel handle is "together4autsim" check out the films to see for yourself.

RAGS are committed to sharing relevant information and communicate regularly to its members on subjects that are of interest. Social media enables news and information to be delivered to a wide audience for little cost.

Autism awareness training can help at home, school and in the workplace and is essential. Carers of people with autism, particularly parents of a newly diagnosed child, can benefit from accessing training which helps them to understand the condition and implement strategies that can support the individual. RAGS deliver training in a variety of settings; this part of the work continues to be a priority for the organisation.

Social isolation is a common problem that occurs in many families and RAGS address this by having regular coffee morning/support groups and other social activities. Following our recent move to new premises in Victoria Road Romford, we are now able to welcome many more people and provide a meeting place for our members.

We are proud to be Havering's support group for Parents of Children with Autism, run by Parents of Children with Autism.

For more information contact RAGS on: 01708 745547

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