A brand new service will offer life-long support to people with autism in South Shields.
The new 'autism hub', opened by the mayor and mayoress of South Tyneside this month, will offer occupational therapy, mental health help and peer support for people with the condition throughout the area.
Councillors say they're responded to a need created by an above-average number of people with an autism diagnosis in the borough, as parents, carers and those with a diagnosis told the council they needed more local support.
One of those who can't wait to start using the new hub is little Jak Brunton, and his mum Jay.
For Jak, who turns four on Monday, regular sessions at a Toby Henderson Trust centre in Bedlington have been a lifeline, helping him connect with his family and supporting them as they understand his needs.
The Jarrow family travel at least once a week to Northumberland for invaluable one-to-one sessions, so the opening of a hub close to home in South Shields will make a huge difference to their lives.
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