Haywards Heath Mother’s autism support mission helps more than 150 families

Kat and Ben
Kat and Ben

When a mother complained to a politician about the lack of help for parents with autistic children she never imagined she would become founder of a support group attended by more than 150 families.

But Kat Wilmore, 41, from Haywards Heath, has done just that.

Kat’s unplanned venture began about four years ago when she complained to Sujan Wickremaratchi, now Mayor of Haywards Heath, about the lack of local support services.

Mr Wickremaratchi - who was canvassing to be councillor at the time - said if Kat could lead a new group, he could get her a council grant.

After getting some tips from the founder of a similar group elsewhere, Kat decided to ‘go for it’.

She said: “My son Ben was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and I didn’t know anyone else with a child with autism. It was a really lonely time.

“This group has gone from strength to strength. I didn’t expect it to get as big as it has.”

Kat runs a resource library so parents can hire specialist items. These are often expensive so its useful for parents to test them out before buying their own. The group also runs family days out, social events and pampering sessions for parents.

Moving into its fourth year, Kat is now encouraging residents who want to learn about autism, to get involved. The group meets at 7.45pm on the second Monday of each month at Bolnore Village Primary School, with the next meeting on September 14. For more visit www.sussexautismsupport.co.uk