The following case studies illustrate the breadth and depth of our partnerships and represent just a small sample of a diverse and varied programme of funding.

Ambitious about Autism

Pears Foundation have been true partners to Ambitious about Autism over many years, providing an excellent sounding board and being a critical friend. They have been prepared to support us at the beginning of new ventures and encouraged others to get involved too. The Foundation’s support has been vital to the growth, success and impact of Ambitious about Autism in our work for children and young people with autism.
Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive,
Ambitious about Autism
This is one of the long-term relationships that really embodies our values. We’ve committed to each other over time and continued to refine our approach based on what we’ve learned together.
Sir Trevor Pears CMG

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. Their ambition is to make the ordinary possible for children and young people with autism and our aim is to help the charity grow so that more young people with autism are able to learn, thrive and achieve.

The charity was founded as TreeHouse in 1997 by a group of parents in a borrowed room in the Royal Free Hospital in North London. It started out as a specialist school for children with autism and since then Ambitious about Autism has been growing and developing into the national charity that it is today, which provides services, raises awareness, influences policy and campaigns for change.

Pears Foundation originally became involved with Ambitious about Autism in 2005, offering core funding to support and strengthen the charity’s operations, including policy work.

Our long-term partnership, with commitments totalling over £2.8 million, has evolved over the past decade to meet the organisation’s changing needs, including project, core and capital investment as well as funding for the related Centre for Research in Autism and Education at UCL Institute of Education. In 2008, our support for their capital funding appeal enabled them to move from temporary portacabins into a purpose-designed building – the Pears National Centre for Autism Education.

The Foundation provided the lead grant to establish Ambitious about Autism’s further education provision, Ambitious College. Fewer than one in four young people with autism is able to access education beyond school. The College aims to help young people make a successful transition into adulthood. Ambitious College is now operating across two sites, the Pears Campus at CONEL and the Pears Campus at West Thames.

The Foundation’s most recent commitment is to the charity’s Employ Autism project, which aims to increase the number and calibre of paid internships available to autistic people by creating regional networks of employers and employability professionals.