A HUGE fundraising appeal has been launched to create a state-of-the-art home in Minchinhampton designed specifically for autistic adults.

Residents, staff and volunteers are trying to raise £600,000 to fund a spacious new building project at Stroud Court, a specialist care home in Longfords.

This renovated centre will be specifically tailored around people with autism, with the aim of creating a relaxed and open environment for residents.

Stroud Court’s ‘A Home for Tom’ appeal has already raised half the funds over the last few years.

But with planning permission for the changes now agreed with Stroud District Council, staff there are trying to reach the final target and are asking the community to chip in.

Stroud Court currently provides specialist residential care, accommodation and support for 35 autistic adults with complex needs.

Chris Atkins, executive director, explained the goal of the refurbishment was to make every house, every building and every facility at Stroud Court truly autism-friendly.

“To an autistic person, the room sizes and restrictive hallways in a standard house can be the cause of unimaginable anxiety,” he said.

“The design of the new home includes an open plan ground floor layout which enables residents to move around freely without fearing stressful contact.

“Wide corridors, neutral décor and spacious rooms will help each of them feel calmer and more relaxed.”

Chris added that the appeal had been named after one of the home’s newest residents Tom.

"Tom was anxious, withdrawn and reclusive but since living with us has gained the confidence needed to venture out and now enjoys spending time with others and has a far more fulfilling life,” he said.

“In him, we have seen first-hand that living in an environment designed specifically for autistic people can change your life.

“And that's something we would like for all of our residents.”

Helen Kay, fundraising manager said: “Whether you are a school, association, club, pub or local business, whatever you do, you can help us build this crucial new home.

“Now that Stroud District Council have granted planning permission, it’s all system go and we’d love you to get involved.

“Support us through collection tins, get creative with fundraising activities and help us spread the word. Ignite your passion for Stroud Court and request a speaker to learn more about what we do.

“Whatever you do, I will support you every step of the way.”

The building is currently run by Stroud Court Community Trust, a charity was established in 1983 by a group of parents frustrated by the lack of provision for their autistic children.

Today the charity supports thirty five autistic adults with complex health needs, and comprises eight residential units, a swimming pool, sensory garden and craft centre.

There are eight houses and flats within the Stroud Court complex.

They employ eighty eight local people and benefit from the efforts of six local volunteers.

To donate, please visit www.campaign.justgiving.com/charity/stroud-courtct/homefortom

For more information visit www.stroudcourt.org.uk