Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEiS), which owns software company Specialisterne, has become a force in autism advocacy. Previously known for recruiting workers with autism, Specialisterne has been awarded a humongous grant of £407,036, or the American equivalent of approximately $616,492 by the BIG Lottery Fund to expand its company program to Glasgow in the United Kingdom.
Gerry Higgins, the Chief Executive of CEiS, knows the overwhelming autism statistics and shares the same vision Thorkil Sonne had when he founded Specialisterne. Higgens expressed his concern that “only 13% of adults with an autism spectrum disorder are in full-time employment.” Higgins then thanked the BIG Lottery Fund by saying “Funding has helped to realise a dream that has been three years in development.”
Part of the United Kingdom’s lottery, the BIG Lottery Fund distributes a percentage of lottery money totaling to millions of pounds every year to important causes. Alison Magee, Chair of the Scotland Committee of the BIG Lottery Fund said: “This is a truly innovative project which has identified a niche market and created a tailor made programme for a section of our society with specialist needs.”
Looking towards the future, the award was given to the promising company because of the vision that “Specialisterne UK will help transform the quality of life for those taken on board…by capitalising on skills identified amongst selected individuals living with an autistic spectrum disorder.”
Recognizing the importance of integrating the millions of people autism into the workforce, the BIG Lottery Fund has made autism a priority by investing its funds into Specialisterne UK.