A course teaching life skills to autistic children aged 10 to 17 in east London that had to be stopped when it ran out of cash has been restarted.

A rescue plan from the City means the Sycamore Trust can now resume the skills training in the three London boroughs of Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham after funding had dried up.

The trust has been given a grant by the City Bridge Foundation to run the 12-month life skills course, which restarted this month with funding for another two courses up to 2027.

“The programme provides valuable respite for parents and siblings,” Sycamore Trust’s chief executive Cheryl Kearney explained.

“It helps autistic youngsters to navigate a neuro-typical world that can often be overwhelming and stressful.”

The course is open for children from age 10 diagnosed with mild to moderate autism and runs for the 12 months from April to March, with another two courses now guaranteed.

It teaches relationships, social skills, health and hygiene, independent travel and living and mental wellbeing.

The trust, which started the courses in 2019, had to stop earlier this year when the money ran out. It submitted an application for funding to City Bridge Foundation and staff learned in April that the bid had been successful.

City Bridge chairman Giles Shilson said: “We’re pleased that our funding has meant the life skills programme can restart. It will have a profound effect on young people’s lives, teaching skills and experience to boost their confidence and help their independence.”

A typical session involves small groups spending half an hour working on a topic, followed by an activity to learn social interaction and teamwork.

The groups run three nights a week in term time, at venues in Dagenham and Rainham. 

A waiting list has been opened for the 2025 intake next April. Applications should be made by email to activities@sycamoretrust.org.uk. 

City Bridge Foundation is responsible for five Thames crossings including the iconic Tower Bridge and is London’s biggest independent charity funder. It hands out £30million a year to London charities and has made a further £200m available over the five years to 2026. Its trustee is the City of London Corporation.