Daisy Chain was established thirteen years ago as a result of founder Lesley Hanson wanting to "…make Daisy Chain a haven for families affected by autism and special needs, a place where they can go and find something in life that gives them pleasure." The charity currently supports over 1,600 families.
Daisy Chain is a registered charity based on a former working farm in Norton on the outskirts of Stockton-on-Tees.
Now, with the highly valued support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Daisy Chain is closer than ever to realising Lesley's dream.
To people with autism the world is a mass of people, places and events that they struggle to make sense of, and which can cause them considerable anxiety. Understanding and relating to other people, and taking part in everyday family and social life may be harder for them. Often these children do not need, nor want, a kiss and a cuddle from mum and dad.
There is no facility in the UK providing the same holistic support to children with autism and their families. The charity is acutely aware that the parents, siblings and carers of these demanding children all need support – that is what they provide.
Daisy Chain provide a parents support group, a siblings support group, a listening service and a wide range of organised activities – crucial to children who need familiarity and routine. They have a new Day Centre which houses several support services and provides conference facilities as well as a sensory garden, maze, playground, wildlife pond, wildlife walks and a pond for dozens of Koi carp.
But when it comes to aiding the development of Daisy Chain children one of the most popular, and important, facilities is the petting barn, containing lambs, rabbits, guinea pigs, pygmy goats, chinchilla and a dwarf African hedgehog. All provide valuable non-verbal stimulus and interaction.