Alex Kelly, the Director of WayMakers Devon - Credit: WayMakers

Barnstaple entrepreneur secures funding to help autistic people

Joseph Bulmer

A Barnstaple based entrepreneur has secured up to £15,000 of funding and won a place on a prestigious learning programme, to help develop neuro-inclusion for autistic people across Devon.

Alex Kelly, the Director of WayMakers Devon, a Community Interest Company in Barnstaple, is one of 15 leaders in Devon to have been selected for the competitive learning programme and Match Trading grant of up to £15,000.

The programme will support Alex to grow WayMakers, which promotes opportunities and neuro-inclusion for autistic people across communities and workplaces.

Alex has begun a four-month Accelerator learning programme with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, which supports people starting up and running social enterprises, charities, community business and environmental projects.

Alex said: “I am delighted to have been accepted onto the Devon Social Entrepreneurs Programme. The programme, and Match Trading grant of up to £15,000 will help me grow WayMakers. I created WayMakers in September 2020 as I recognised from 20 years experience working in education and running specialist provision for autistic learners, that there were multiple barriers faced by neurodivergent people moving from school to employment, and navigating the world of work. I saw an opportunity to create a set of services to address these challenges and I am delighted that this funding means I can support more people in 2022.”

The Devon Social Entrepreneurs Programme is led by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) in partnership with Devon Communities Together, New Prosperity Devon, and Stir to Action. It is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, which is managed by Devon County Council within the Devon area.

Dirk Rohwedder, South West Director for School for Social Entrepreneurs, said: “We are delighted to welcome Alex Kelly onto the Accelerator programme, where she will learn alongside other community leaders how to build a more resilient organisation and create greater social impact for the region. We are confident Alex has the leadership qualities and motivation to increase their impact in the communities they serve even further, which is why we have awarded her a highly coveted place.”

As part of the programme, SSE has partnered with Devon Communities Together and New Prosperity Devon to provide free support through workshops and events until the end of June 2022.  These will tackle subjects ranging from fundraising to innovation and decarbonisation planning. They are open to all social enterprises, community businesses, charity and voluntary organisations in Devon whether or not they’re on the programme and details can be found through the SSE website: bit.ly/DevonSEP