Wallace launches Autism Fund
Following the success of his Testimonial dinner last year in support of Autism Ireland, former Ireland and Ulster rugby star Paddy Wallace and his wife Tina have stepped up their efforts to help local children and families by launching their own Fund for Autism.
The Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism aims to raise awareness of autism and support families and children awaiting diagnosis or who have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
Paddy and Tina have first-hand experience of the challenges faced by parents, having fought for five years for a proper assessment of their son, Paddy-Jack, now aged 8.
Like so many other parents, Paddy and Tina often felt frustrated by the lack of adequate advice and support available to them.
"Nobody should have to experience the delay and obstacles our family faced to secure a diagnosis and management plan for PJ," said Paddy. "Just to see the right people and obtain a diagnosis was a challenge, and we saw the clear need for a better support system."
The money raised from the Paddy Wallace Testimonial dinner in 2014 will be used to fund a health and activity programme called Project Oaks, ran by Autism Initiatives in Northern Ireland during 2016 and 2017.
This year at the inaugural Christmas ball for the Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism, the rugby star is hoping to raise even more money.
The Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism has already identified several key projects. Firstly, working with local charity Autism Initiatives, the fund will support an advice line.
In addition, the fund will support social activities, such as cycling and surf programmes, support adults in supported housing and will introduce the "Buddy Bench" scheme, which they hope to deliver to schools across Northern Ireland.
For further information on the Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism or to book at table at the Christmas gala ball which will take place on Thursday, December 10 at Titanic Belfast, please visit www.paddywallace.com or contact Tina@paddywallace.com