Social Opportunities Meeting, 21stMarch 2018

The participants included a parent, new to the area, representatives from an employment support provider and a support service, and two Local Area Co-ordinators.  The group was small, however there was a useful exchange of information and ideas around how providers might work together to enable people with similar interests to enjoy these with others, where this was something wanted by those concerned.

Football Coaching

Links have made between the Monday night five-a-side football players and Dalkeith Thistle. The five-a-side games have been running fortnightly, indoors and outdoors seasonally, for over three years and lightly facilitated by LAC. A link maintained with Yvonne Hays, Sports and Leisure, has resulted in a coach currently attending the sessions on a trial basis.  This has opened up an option for the players to become part of the Dalkeith Thistle training team. The players have ownership of the sessions and, after considering and discussing their options, have embraced the opportunity. This change is still in the early stages, but one parent of a player with autism was delighted that, unprompted, his son gathered in the “huddle” at the end of the game to join the discussion.  There is space for new players.

Men’s Health, Wellbeing and Relationships Course.

Several men connected to LAC have expressed a wish to learn more about how to cope with the development of their relationships. In consultation with likely participants, LAC has developed a course to enable learning and discussion. The course is open to eight participants, with five places provisionally filled. LAC is open to adapting the course to the needs of individuals, with 1:1 sessions if required.


February 2018

The social group will meet on

Date: Wednesday 21st March

Time: From 11am

Venue: Dalkeith Arts Centre

We will send out a flyer with all the details on it later. If you require any information in the mean time please get in touch. There will be a light lunch provided, if there is any dietary requirements please let us know.

Kind Regards

Stuart and Catherine

(Direct Office Line 0131 454 1785)

December 2018

Fit Fun’Fab has been set up by local area coordination in response to a lack of healthy and wellbeing activity in the Penicuik area for women with learning disability. Read more here.

May 2017

  1. Julie Cunningham from Link Living will ask the organisers of the Mayfield tea dance to extend the hours to stage a multi activity social group after lunch. Link Living will facilitate the group, with support for ideas from Artlink , if required, apply to autism strategy budget to provide some resources for table top games etc.
  2. Local Area Coordination will establish a new small group in Penicuik to bring people who might like to meet up to do a variety of simple outings like walking, a coffee out, lunch or cinema. Contact Catherine Action/ Stuart McIntosh.
  3. Lifelong Learning met with the ASD teaching team at Dalkeith High, Lynne Grant from Midlothian Council (Additional Support Needs for Education), Barnardos BIBSS (Barnardos Intensive Behaviour Support Service) and Artlink. We identified that autism specific support would be required to establish an interest based youth club around the specific interests of the pupils using the base. We would need to put this in context of longer term support for this club, so we didn’t start something that couldn’t be sustained. We agreed to makes visits to the youth clubs already facilitated by BIBS in Edinburgh, and to scope how many youth workers already have experience of supporting young people with autism. Agreed to find out from libraries the scope of their innovation fund. Contact: Kara Christine, Artlink.
  4. Stephen Harris,  library service development worker would like to put in a bid to the Library Innovation Fund for an outreach group to research the interests and support needs of young people with autism, particularly those who can’t access current provision. They will submit an application for a research project to identify the interests and support needs for a small group of pupils supported by the ASD teaching team in Dalkeith High.

April 2017

Our second meeting invited organisations involved all age social group representatives, and asked attendees to suggest area of priority.

These were

  1. Social opportunities for older adults with autism and learning disability. ACTION: Link Living, local area coordination to explore extending or duplicating the tea dance in Mayfield. 
  2. Social opportunities for secondary school pupils without learning disability around key interests. ACTION: Arrange meeting with lifelong learning, ASD service teaching staff and Barnardos BIBS staff and Artlink to explore this. 
  3. Social opportunities for adults in Penicuik to meet up with friends around ‘ordinary’ activity like a meal out, bowling or walking. ACTION: The Keys family, Artlink, LAC to meet up to explore something like this in Penicuik. 


March 2017

The Social group have been set up to look at what is available socially in Midlothian and how we might address some of the gaps identified by people with autism, of all ages in Midlothian.

The first meeting was on Feb 28th 2017 and was about finding out where the demands and opportunities are in Midlothian for people who want to socialise with others. It was attended by Number 6, Beeslack Family Club, Get2Gether, Colouring Outside the Lines, Midlothian Community Leisure, parents from PASDA, Neighbourhood Networks and Artlink.

It was acknowledged in the strategy that not everyone wants to socialise traditionally, in groups. We wholeheartedly support the notion of socialising on your own terms, and don’t assume that social opportunities should be organised, group activity.

The main themes from the meeting in March 2017 were

  1. Strengthening what people already use and rely upon
  2. What are people telling us is needed? (Penicuik was highlighted as a priority and opportunities for females, particularly those who can’t access group activity without a little support).
  3. Looking at staging something to address the gaps by pulling our own resources
  4. what funds might be available to address gaps if we shared knowledge and worked together?

Here’s the minutes of the first meeting socialising-group-autism-strategy

Anyone interested in coming can email

The next meeting is TBC