An autism charity has asked people to donate the money they would normally spend on summer essentials to help it continue providing services hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Scottish Autism hopes its “Holiday Hero” campaign will lead to cash donations from travellers no longer needing to purchase items such as sunscreen, swimsuits or flip-flops.
The charity has reported a 101% increase in inquiries to its Autism Advice Helpline while also forecasting a loss of half its annual income from the cancellation of fundraising and supporter events.
Both those events and the general public’s summer holiday plans have been impacted by measures brought in to halt the spread of Covid-19.
The charity’s chief executive Dorry McLaughlin said the pandemic had “presented a double blow to our organisation”.
She added: “The lockdown has created higher levels of stress and anxiety for many autistic people and their families, who’ve needed our support more than ever, while the cancellation of events has really hit the finances that are essential in providing key services.
“This year’s fundraising campaign is therefore critical to our ability to maintain the services and support that so many autistic individuals and their families rely upon.
“Many of us will be unable to enjoy an overseas family summer holiday this year due to the ongoing uncertainty and travel restrictions surrounding the pandemic.
“We are therefore asking people to turn this disappointment into a positive by being a ‘Holiday Hero’ and donating the cost of a holiday item through social media.
“At a time of significant financial pressure for many, we appeal to people to think of the challenges that autistic people and their families are facing.
“The essential support provided by charities like ours will be needed well beyond the lockdown.”