The Usual Place, Dumfries Launches Groundbreaking Support Service for Autistic Adults in Dumfries & Galloway

The Usual Place fills much needed gap in supporting Autistic Adults in Dumfries & Galloway

The Usual Place is spearheading a ground-breaking information service to support Autistic adults across Dumfries and Galloway. Funded as a pilot project by the Scottish Government and administered by Inspiring Scotland, ‘Good Connections for Autistic Adults’ at The Usual Place will bring together the best and most relevant information about services, activities and opportunities for employment and will facilitate direct connections for Autistic Adults and families or carers.

Good Connections for Autistic Adults kicks off on Wednesday 22nd November from 10 am to 4 pm, with the first of 6 monthly drop-in events at The Usual Place. Anyone who has a diagnosis of autism, or identifies as autistic, or provides informal care, is welcome to call in to talk to staff from The Usual Place, some of whom have lived experience of autism. There will also be a chance to find out more about different selected groups of organisations who have been invited to come along to each event to chat, connect, listen and share the relevant services and support they can provide to Autistic adults, their families or carers.

In addition to the monthly drop-in events, The Usual Place will have staff available to meet with autistic individuals in their café during normal opening times to help make connections to a wealth of social or employment opportunities and services that may be able to offer relevant support if needed.

Heather Hall, Chief Executive at The Usual Place, said: “We are really pleased to be able to provide this important conduit between people and many of the brilliant services which can enable them to really get on with fulfilling lives.

“There are no clear pathways for post-diagnostic support in Dumfries & Galloway, and it’s hard for autistic people to find information, services and support that is relevant to their individual needs and situations.

“Our team, and our welcoming building provide the skilled understanding and ideal space to really consider what will be the best connections for each individual and to help facilitate these connections.”

Abbi Williams, Lived Experience Trainer at The Usual Place, said: “I think this is a brilliant idea and hopefully it will help Autistic people, and the people who care about them to find organisations that will enable them to make the next steps in life.”

The first three Drop- In Events are on Wednesday 22nd November from 10am – 4pm with Dumfries and Galloway Carer’s Centre, Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Centre, Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway, DG Voice and Include Us. Tuesday 5th December from 10am – 4pm with Dumfries & Galloway Employability and Skills Service, Better Lives Partnership, Scottish Women’s Autistic Network, Joanne Service, Chair of Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Neurodiversity Subgroup of the Children’s Services Plan and The Financial Inclusion and Welfare Support Team. Wednesday 31 st January from 2pm – 7pm, details to be confirmed soon.

Anyone who would like to find out more about Good Connections for Autistic Adults should come along to one of the events or contact Alison or Joanna at The Usual Place on 01387 253485 [email protected] or [email protected]

Listings dates for Good Connections for Autistic Adults Drop-In Events at The Usual Place, Dumfries

• Wednesday 22 November 2023: 10am – 4pm

• Tuesday 5 December 2023: 10am – 4pm

• Wednesday 31 January 2024: 2pm – 7pm

• Tuesday 6 February 2024:10am – 4pm

• Wednesday 28 February 2024: 2pm – 7pm

• March 2024: TBC

The Usual Place Values

The aim of The Usual Place is to provide employability and citizenship opportunities for young people aged 14-26, with additional support needs. All money made in the café and through events and room and space rental is used to cover business costs in support of our aims.

The Usual Place is a Disability Confident Employer. It recruits to and lives by three values:

• Everyone is of equal worth,

• Everyone can contribute to the community,

• Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect

About The Usual Place and Inspired Community Enterprise Trust

Currently the core activity of Inspired Community Enterprise Trust (ICET) is running The Usual Place 100seater café, meeting and event space in central Dumfries. We run The Usual Place to provide a range of Work Experience Placements, Traineeships and Volunteering opportunities for young people aged 14-26 years with additional support needs. We work in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council, Total Access Point (TAP), Dumfries and Galloway College, all regional Secondary Schools and Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway to provide a seamless Transition service for young people.

Our rights-based approach flows from the “Keys to Life” and “A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People” plans.

Our work is grounded in these Covenants, particularly “the rights of disabled people to enjoy full participation with an adequate income to participate in learning, education, voluntary work or paid employment”.

We are in our 8th year of successful operation. Over 1,200 young people aged 11–26 years have participated in 4 work experience programmes in The Usual Place and improved their confidence, selfesteem and relationships. This has improved their mental wellbeing, expectation of success and vocational ambition, as well as successfully challenging society’s prevailing poverty of expectation and aspiration for those people.


• 117 young people have completed REHIS Food Safety Awards

• 48 young people have completed Dynamic Youth Awards

• 18 people have graduated with an SVQ

• 15 young people are currently at various stages of completing their SVQ • 20 young people are working on the essential soft skills and experience required to make informed choices about their future.

This has led to:

• 11 young people going directly into full-time work

• 8 young people going directly into part-time work

• 9 young people in college completing further Vocational College Courses • 7 young people establishing their own businesses

• 8 young people Volunteering to develop their skills elsewhere and contributing to, rather than receiving, support services.