Confusion Over Government Autism Grant

April 7, 2010

At the City Hall event on April 1 declaring World Autism Awareness Day, it was announced that a $20,000 grant would be provided by government to the Bermuda Autism Support and Education [BASE].

Yesterday, a Government spokesperson sent out a statement clarifying that the grant would not be provided to BASE, that the wrong information had been provided and that the grant would go to another organisation.

The Government statement follows below:

Clarification by the Permanent Secretary of Health, Warren W. Jones: Government Autism Grant

On Monday April 5th, 2010 a story ran in the print and electronic media noting that the Ministry of Health will be providing a $20,000 grant to Bermuda Autism Support and Education (BASE) in support of its education centre for the 2010/2011 fiscal year.

In this regard, I need to publicly apologise because in fact, the Ministry of Health will be providing this grant to Tomorrow’s Voices – Bermuda Autism Early Intervention Centre.

Since 2008, the Ministry of Health has been providing this grant to Tomorrow’s Voices and unfortunately I provided the wrong information for the statement which was made in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day. I am hopeful that this release clarifies any confusion that might have been caused as a result of that announcement.

BASE responded to this statement earlier today, their full statement is below:

Yesterday the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Warren Jones, admitted he made an error by informing the Acting Health Minster Zane DeSilva and the media last week that Bermuda Autism Support & Education (BASE) was to receive a $20,000 grant from Government.

The grant has instead been awarded to another autism-related charity and BASE, which provides free services to families of autistic children, will receive no Government funding.

BASE today issued the following statement:

BASE is very disappointed to learn of the Ministry’s unfortunate mistake. Given these tough economic times, any charity would be disappointed to learn of an error of this magnitude.

However BASE would like to reassure the public and more importantly, those families of autistic individuals who are struggling financially that we will continue to strive to provide them with access to the FREE services they vitally need. We would urge the public to continue to support our fund-raising efforts during April’s Autism Awareness Month.

BASE will be holding its annual Denim Day on April 23 and staging a free panel discussion, “Let’s Talk About Autism”, featuring overseas autism experts at Mount St Agnes Academy on April 30. In addition the Bermuda National Gallery will be hosting a visit by artistic autistic savant, Stephen Wiltshire, MBE from May 17-23 and holding a gala fund-raising dinner with part proceeds going to BASE.

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Comments (3)

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  1. terry says:

    “Autism.. Confusion?

    It’s all the UBP’s fault. Irony is something eh?