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The Mayor of Waverley was amongst a number of VIP guests invited to celebrate the launch of Jigsaw+ on Friday, 19th April, a new adult service provision for individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or related disability.    

Overseen by the Jigsaw Trust, which also operates the Jigsaw CABAS® School for children on the autism spectrum aged 4-19, Jigsaw+ will provide learning support, vocational activities and wellbeing services for adults through their Centre for Lifelong Learning based on Dunsfold Park.

As Adele Grandon, Manager of Jigsaw+, says “The transition from school to adulthood is particularly challenging for young adults with autism.  Jigsaw+ offers a safe, autism friendly environment that offers a wide range of vocational training opportunities and encourages the development of essential life skills.”

Jigsaw Trust has spent a number of months refurbishing The Centre for Lifelong Learning and has had an enormous amount of support from many local companies and individuals.  In addition to the help provided by Jim McAllister, Chief Executive of Dunsfold Park Ltd, the new leaseholders of the building, Memset, have also been extremely generous in their support, providing essential building installations and valuable advice.  A grant from the Big Lottery Fund also enabled the purchase of a wide range of essential IT equipment and software for the new Computer Suite.

Jigsaw Trust Chief Executive, Kate Grant, explains “We have long been planning to extend the Trust’s existing specialist services for children with autism, to include adults.  I am absolutely delighted that the day has now come to officially launch the Jigsaw+ Centre for Lifelong Learning.  The massive interest shown by parents and professionals since our phased start up back in September 2012, highlights the genuine need for adult services such as this. 

Jigsaw+ owes a great deal to its many supporters and I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dunsfold Park Ltd, Memset Ltd, Surrey and Sussex Probation Service, Big Lottery Fund, Mulberry Trust, OW Hospitality, ACT Foundation and all the friends, families, staff and local community supporters who have donated time and money, wielded paintbrushes, steamers and generally got ‘stuck in’ to help….thank you all.”

Jim McAllister, Chief Executive of Dunsfold Park Ltd, said, “I was delighted to attend the opening of Jigsaw Trust’s new adult service.  I am full of admiration for what the staff, working together with the parents and pupils, have achieved since Jigsaw moved to Dunsfold Park and am very pleased to see the school going from strength to strength, laying the foundations for what we hope will be a long term home at the site.”  

Memset Ltd Managing Director, Kate Craig-Wood commented “As head leaseholders of this building, we have been delighted to be able to offer our support and advice throughout the refurbishment work and to watch the subsequent establishment of such a worthwhile new service. We are especially looking forward to making use of some of the local social enterprises that Jigsaw+ has planned. It’s terrific to see this become a reality for both Jigsaw+ and the amazing people they support.”

Photo L-R:  Jim McAllister, Kate Craig-Wood, Kate Grant (CEO Jigsaw Trust), Mayor & Mayoress of Waverley (Cllr Tony & Mrs Cathy Gordon-Smith)