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Hope GB: The Torfaen-based charity that supports people ‘affected by autism’

a large function room with tables and chairs
The large room inside Hope GB

Ten minutes into a chat with Isabelle Winter, Hope GB’s charity project and engagement coordinator, I had to ask her if I could turn on my voice recorder to capture everything she was telling me about the charity.

Isabelle stood outside Hope GB
Isabelle Winter, Hope GB’s charity project and engagement coordinator

I had no idea how much work Hope GB did to help individuals with autism. My usual approach to interviews is with pen and paper or taking notes on my laptop. She was telling me about so many things, across so many age groups and throughout the week on different days I knew a voice recording would be more accurate.

They are one of the organisations based in Nant Bran, the former Upper Cwmbran Infants School on Upper Cwmbran Road.

Coffee & Chats

Isabelle said: “Fortnightly we run a coffee and chat, so not at the centre but as Hope GB.  We try to have links in the community to make it easily accessible, in terms of transport for some families.”

The fortnightly Coffee & Chats are on Monday evenings from 6pm-8pm at Panteg House in Griffithstown and on a Friday mornings from 10am – 12pm at Aspris College in Cwmbran. Keep an eye out on Hope GB’s social media for updates on these sessions as dates and times may change.

Talking about the Coffee & Chat events, Isabelle said: “It’s mostly peer support. I’m there to support and if I know anything, to signpost. The support they offer each is wonderful. Talking to people who understand really makes a difference.”

group of statf line up for team phot
Some of the Hope GB team

Young adults group for 16-25 year-olds

Isabelle said: “And then on Wednesday we have a weekly young adults group for 16-25 year-olds and that takes place here on three weeks of the month and then the final week is in Panteg House. And that is a social opportunity for young adults to be able to meet other people who are like-minded or have similar interests. Just being able to make friends in a supportive setting and also give opportunities that they may think are not available to them but very much are.

“We wanted to create something that was solely for that age group and allow for them to be able to grow and develop skills. It means that you’re transitioning in the same environment to a new group as you get older.

group of people by balloons at opening of new centre
Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds at the opening of Hope GB’s home in Cwmbran in April 2022

Youth club for 6-17 year-olds

Isabelle said: “Then on a Thursday evening, there is the youth club for 6-17 year-olds, with two sessions, one from 5.30pm to 6.50pm and one from 7pm to 8.30pm and that’s in our centre.”

Parent and toddler plus respite with Little Explorers

Isabelle said: “On a Friday morning from 10am to 11.30am there is a parent and toddler group here with some of our staff. Then monthly on a Saturday here, there is the Little Explorers group for 3-6 year-olds and that’s respite so parents don’t stay for that one.

“It’s two-hours so it’s a decent time. It’s nice for parents and carers to have that time to do what they want.

four people stood by christmas treet
Hope GB held a Christmas event

Summer holidays and Christmas

Over the summer they ran trips to Llandegfedd Reservoir, bowling , Oakwood Theme Park, and held holiday club sessions.

Isabelle said: “Six weeks’ holiday is quite daunting. If you know that on one day you can come to Hope GB, it’s something to cross off for one morning a week.”

Over Christmas staff took members ice-skating, held a silent disco, ran a Santa’s Grotto, and organised a Christmas meal for the young adults.

Before I left Isabelle summed up Hope GB’s approach to providing services. She said: “It’s listening to the community and what they need. We will do the best we can to support.”

group of people smiling and waving in a group
Inside Hope GB in Upper Cwmbran

Hope GB on social media

Contact Hope GB

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Hope GB: The Torfaen-based charity that supports people ‘affected by autism’