Autistic people need different levels of support and advice at different times in their lives.
On this page you can find out about support, advice, and information available for autistic people in Surrey.
Whether or not you are assessed as eligible for Adult Social Care services, you may still be able to get help from the following groups.
Some of these are autism specialists, and some are suitable for anyone. Some need to be paid for.
- Adult social care
- Autism diagnostic assessment
- Bus travel
- Counselling and mental health
- Education and leisure
- Information, advice, and support
- Staying safe from harm
- Essential support available in Surrey
An advocate is someone who can speak up for you. They can help if you face difficulties in being involved in decisions about your care, having your voice heard and normally have no other independent person to help you do so.
It can help you say what you want, secure your rights, represent your interests, and obtain services you need.
Advocacy is free, independent, and confidential.
Adult Social Care at Surrey County Council commissions statutory advocacy services for adults in Surrey and some discretionary services on behalf of the NHS.
Some advocacy services you can get for yourself by contacting the local advocacy provider directly. Other advocacy will only be given to you if it is agreed that you are eligible for it.
Information on community support for autistic people is frequently updated on Connect to Support Surrey.
POhWER Surrey provides a range of different instructed advocacy services in Surrey.
- Mobile: Send the word 'pohwer' with your name and number to 81025
- Telephone: 0300 456 2370
- Fax: Skype pohwer.advocacy
- Email: email@example.com
Matrix: Our Advocacy Services in Surrey provides a range of non instructed advocacy services across Surrey.
This includes advocating for older people with mental health problems and dementia type illnesses, as well as autistic people and other learning disabilities.
- Telephone: 0300 199 0301
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Need help to make a complaint about NHS services?
If you live in Surrey and are unhappy with the NHS treatment you have received, Healthwatch Surrey in partnership with Surrey Independent Living Charity can provide free, confidential and independent support to help you to make a complaint about an NHS service. This team is called the Independent Health Complaints Advocacy service.
You can contact the Surrey Independent Living Charity team via:
- Telephone: 01483 310 500
- Text (SMS): 07704 265 377
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.surreyilc.org.uk
Adult Social Care
Social Care Funded Services
If you are finding it hard to manage by yourself and are aged 18 and above, our adult social care service may be able to help.
They support residents who have longer term and more complex needs that prevent them from doing routine things each day. They also support carers of all ages, even if the person they care for is not eligible for services.
To find out if they can provide support to you, either you, or someone on your behalf, can contact them for an initial assessment. They will arrange to assess your support needs and carry out an eligibility assessment.
Autistic people are most likely to qualify for social care support if they are thought to be at risk from harm if they don't get support.
If you are assessed as eligible, you can receive services funded by Surrey County Council to meet your assessed needs.
You can get in touch with Contact adult social care to arrange an assessment.
- Telephone: 0300 200 1005
- Operating hours: 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday
These criteria are a framework to look at an individual's needs and how they affect the person's wellbeing. The criteria include difficulties with developing and maintaining personal relationships, and access to work, training, education, or volunteering.
Support can include care and help to be independent such as:
- Short breaks from home
- Activities and employment support
- Equipment and technology
- Care and support at home
Support can be planned for you, or you can have a Direct Payment to organise and pay for your own support. Take a look at Paying for social care using Direct Payments to find out more.
Social care services are not always free of charge. If the council provides you with adult social care services, you will need to complete your financial assessment and may have to pay towards the cost of your support. This can be done online and takes around 15 minutes.
Surrey County Council Adult Social Care Autism Lead
Thomas Moore is Surrey County Council Adult Social Care's Commissioning Lead for Autism.
Email the Learning Disability and Autism Engagement Team for further information.
- Contact: Thomas Moore
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Autism Diagnostic Assessment
Surrey and Borders NHS Trust provides an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) service in Surrey. This provides diagnosis and some support for autistic adults across Surrey. It is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
You must ask your GP to refer you for an assessment.
There is a waiting list for a diagnostic assessment. When it is your turn to be seen by the service you will be invited to a meeting with an autism specialist.
If you are diagnosed, you will be sent a letter that confirms your diagnosis. This is usually a five or six page letter.
The Recovery College
The Recovery College offers a Post Diagnostic course of four 2-hour sessions open to anyone with an autism diagnosis, their family and support staff. There is also an 'Introduction to the Autism Spectrum' course available. This consists of three 2-hour sessions and is open to anyone.
If you are eligible for a Surrey disabled person's bus pass you can travel between 9.30am and 11pm from Monday to Friday and any time on weekends and public holidays.
You can apply online or book an appointment in a participating Surrey library.
The Helping Hand Scheme is designed to give people a helping hand when using bus services; a simple way to help drivers help you.
You can apply for a card that you can show to drivers when you get on the bus. The card lets drivers know about what you need without you having to tell them. It is very good for people who have a hidden disability.
You can find out more about the buses services in Surrey on their website including the work they are doing to make buses better.
Counselling and mental health
Community Connections Surrey supports people who have mental health difficulties, offering emotional and wellbeing support through local support groups, activities, and courses. Each local area has a lead provider explained below.
Mary Frances Trust
Mary Frances Trust (MFT) is a mental health and emotional wellbeing charity for adults aged above 16 in Surrey. The areas they cover are Epsom and Ewell, Mole Valley, Elmbridge East and Banstead
- Telephone: 01372 375 400
- SMS/Text: 07929 0246722
- Email: email@example.com
Catalyst Support offers a range of services within the community to help people with their mental health and wellbeing. The areas they cover are Guilford, Waverley, Woking, Spelthorne, Runnymede, Surrey Heath and West Elmbridge
- Telephone: 01483 590 150
- SMS/Text: 07909 631623
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Richmond Fellowship's East Surrey Community Connections is a national mental health charity. Reigate, Redhill, Tandridge, Horley, Smallfield, Salfords.
- Telephone: 01737 771 058
- SMS/Text: 07867 448947
- Email: email@example.com
Your GP can support you with your mental health and is able to refer you to services that can help with issues like anxiety and depression. This includes support from GPimhs to help you find and link into other sources of support in the community.
The service is delivered by Catalyst or Mary Frances Trust (MFT) - GPimhs page depending on your location in Surrey.
The Surrey virtual wellbeing hub
Surrey Virtual Wellbeing lists activities, events, and support services for mental health.
YMCA Step Forward provide support and activities for young people aged 17 to 24 with mental health and emotional wellbeing needs. These could include anything from sport, fitness, creative projects and emotional wellbeing support and advice.
To find out more or to attend a session, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Education and leisure
Mainstream adult education and leisure facilities should make reasonable adjustments for autistic people and may have staff with some specialist training in how to support autistic people.
Visit Surrey has information about things to do and leisure services available in Surrey.
Surrey County Council adult learning
Whether you want to develop a new interest, learn a new skill, keep fit and healthy or simply have fun and make new friends, there is a course for you. There is support for learners with additional needs that can include:
- Learning materials that suit your needs.
- A helper to support you in class.
- Someone to interpret, read or sign for you.
- Advice on courses and possible progression routes.
You can tell staff what your needs are when you enrol for a course. Courses include computers, yoga, arts, photography, languages, sports and cooking.
Finding a job
Naturally Talented Me is a free to use website to help people to find jobs, work, and career opportunities by matching their talents and skills as defined by their hobbies and interests to jobs in Surrey.
You'll input some things about you, and a SeeMe portfolio will be generated, this is the alternative to a traditional CV, not based on qualifications and education but about what interests you.
You may have health issues, or a disability or caring responsibilities that can be taken into consideration when matching you to the right job opportunity that's suited to you. It's about uncovering your natural talents to open more doors for you to getting a job.
Autism Forward aims to enable autistic adults to break free of the barriers they face in the workplace and beyond to reach their full potential in life.
They provide grants for specialist mentoring for autistic adults to give them the support and advice they need to make the transition from education to work and find paid or voluntary employment.
EmployAbility offers support to find a job and stay in employment. What can be offered depends on whether people are eligible for social care support.
EmployAbility helps people to find work placements, volunteer opportunities and paid work. Their 'Place, Train, Maintain' approach to Supported Employment helps develop skills at every stage of the process. This also work with employers to create a positive outcome for a business and their employee.
EmployAbility also works with some schools and colleges to support young autistic people to find work experience opportunities and supported internships. and to access employment schemes like Future Choices.
It can help people not eligible for a funded Social Care service to access specific employment schemes, and support people who can get Access to Work funding, or who self fund.
- Email: EmployAbility@surreychoices.com
- Telephone: 01483 806806
- Text 07860 020130
Job centre plus
A Disability Employment Advisor (DEA) at your Jobcentre Plus office can help you find a job, gain new skills, and tell you about local disability friendly employers.
You can also get advice on Reasonable adjustments for workers with disabilities or health conditions from the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local Jobcentre Plus office.
Access to work grants
Access To Work grants help pay for practical support with your work, support managing your mental health at work and money to pay for communication support at job interviews.
Information, advice, and support groups
On the Connect to Support Surrey website you can search for local care and support services in your area.
There is also information on activities, work, benefit entitlement, health conditions, leisure information and much more.
Information and advice on benefits is available from your local Citizens Advice organisation.
Jobcentre Plus also advises on benefits and your local council can give you information and advice if it relates to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
The National Autistic Society Surrey branch
The National Autistic Society Surrey Branch website has useful information and news on local events.
NAS Surrey Branch is a parent to parent support group run entirely by volunteers. It was founded by parents to support other parents. The branch also holds other activities from time to time and details of all their activities, and other news of interest to autistic people and their families can be found in their newsletter which is sent to branch members every 2 months.
Autism Signposting, Support and Information Services Team (ASSIST)
This is a free service for autistic people aged 16 and above. ASSIST provides specialist low intensity support, post diagnostic support, advice, and signposting.
The Assist team offer one to one sessions with autism specialists.
Common issues people discuss include understanding autism, employment, college/university, anxiety, routines, sensory difficulties, relationships, and isolation.
Sessions can also be offered over the telephone or via online.
Aspire social groups and support
People who would like to attend any of the Aspire groups should contact the Assist service first (see above).
Aspire Guildford support group
This service is for adults over 18 who can attend the group independently. The support group meeting is on the first Thursday of the month from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Members also organise a pub social meet up on the fourth Thursday evening of every month.
Women's support group
This service is for autistic women of all ages. The group meets on the third Saturday of each month 3.30 to 5pm to discuss relevant topics and provide peer support.
Group health and wellbeing coaching for parents and carers of autistic children (aged 0 to 25)
The Health and Wellbeing team for Surrey Health Care Providers run group coaching for parents and/or carers of autistic children (0 to 25 years old). Whether your child has a diagnosis, are waiting for a diagnosis or are self-diagnosed. The sessions will consist of 6 fortnightly 1 hour meetings covering: relationships and connections, boosting wellbeing, resilience and stress, eating for wellbeing, joy of movement and, sleep and relaxation. Health and well-being coaching helps support individuals to take proactive steps to improve the way they manage their physical and mental health conditions, based on what matters to them.
The sessions are run by qualified NHS Health and Wellbeing Coaches. If you are registered with a Surrey Heath GP practice please contact us on 0333 332 0013 or email email@example.com to register your interest.
Appeer support group for autistic women
Appeer are a not for profit organisation run to benefit autistic girls and women, and their carers or professionals. They are proudly lived experience led, and source neurodivergent input and talent at every opportunity.
Appeer run sessions for young autistic women aged 18 to 35 from Surrey who are interested in connecting with other autistic women who live locally. They take place monthly in Guildford on Sunday afternoons, there is more information about the cost and how to book on their website.
The group will last 2 hours and focus on interests and is choice led (there is no pressure to do anything, including chat, if you don't want to).
It may include:
- Arts and craft activities.
- Sensory and wellbeing activities.
- Card and board games and a range of magazines and books.
- Informal, facilitated chat.
Mary Frances Trust Peer support group
Mary Frances Trust (MFT) are starting a weekly group for autistic adults who are able to manage their autism independently and wish to meet others to learn and share experiences.
This is every Monday, from 10am to 12pm at the Bricklands Centre, Portland Place, Epsom.
You need to register with MFT first and then contact them to reserve a space.
- Email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call on: 01372 375400
- Text on: 07929 024722
Catalyst support group
Catalyst run an online autism support group fortnightly on a Tuesday evening from 6pm to 7.30pm.
- Email on: email@example.com
- Call on: 01483 590150
- Text on: 07909 631623
AutAngel online peer group
AutAngel is an autistic LGBTQ+ group that meets online. Although they are Reading-based as an organisation, this group meets online and is open to anyone in the UK.
Aldershot neurodivergent games night
This runs every other Thursday at 6pm at The Games Shop, 6 Wellington Street, Aldershot, GU11 1DZ.
It costs £3, to book a space call 01252 311443 and specify you want to join the Neurodiverse Gaming Night (as the shop runs several other groups at the same time).
Guildford and Kingston autism-friendly Social Meetups
Monthly social meet ups organised by a team of autistic people. The Guildford group meets on Saturday afternoons, and the Kingston group has just been set up.
For more information, search for the groups on the meetup website where you will need to register.
Solar Sisters Café
Solar sisters is a café and shop in Guildford that hosts neurodiverse Guildfordians; a facilitated self-help group for neurodiverse adults living independently that meets monthly on the 3rd Tuesday evening from 6.30pm to 8pm.
A Place For Us
A monthly social event for neurodivergent adults to come and feel welcome amongst other adults who feel the same way. Meets the first Tuesday of the month at The Arc, 39 Western Drive, Caterham, CR3 5XY. You are welcome to bring a friend and any hobbies you like to do. £3 contribution towards room hire and no formal diagnosis required.
Email A. Place. For. Us. firstname.lastname@example.org
Staying safe from harm
There is support in Surrey to help you stay safe from abuse, crime, and fire.
Safeguarding adults from abuse
If you are at risk of abuse or neglect, or you suspect someone else is, please report it now.
Abuse can take many forms including:
- Physical abuse: this includes being hit, shaken, kicked, being locked in a room or inappropriate restraint.
- Sexual abuse: this includes an adult being made to take part in a sexual activity when they have not given or are not able to give their consent.
- Psychological abuse: this includes being shouted at, ridiculed, or bullied, threatened with harm, blamed, or controlled by intimidation or fear.
- Financial or material abuse: this includes theft, fraud, financial exploitation, and pressure in connection with financial matters or misuse of someone else's finances.
- Neglect: this includes the failure to provide essential care and support needs that results in someone being harmed.
- Discrimination: this includes ill treatment, harassment, threats or insults due a person's age, gender, sexuality, disability, race, or religious belief.
- Modern slavery: this includes human trafficking and forced labour.
- Organisational abuse, this is when abuse is caused by an organisation.
- Domestic abuse: this includes abuse occurring between partners or by a family member.
Useful guides and resources can be found on the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board website.
How to report abuse
In an emergency
Dial 999 for the police.
9am to 5pm on week days
Contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub:
- Telephone: 0300 470 9100 (option 2, then option 2)
- SMS: 07527 182861
- Secure email: email@example.com
- Fax number: 01483 519862.
Evenings and weekends
Call the Adult Social Care Emergency Duty Team on: 01483 517898
Reporting abuse online
You can find out how to report abuse online on our website.
What happens after you report abuse?
Anyone can refer a safeguarding concern. For example, they might be a friend, family member, carer, a professional working with adults with care and support needs, or someone who thinks they themselves have been abused.
If you suspect abuse reporting it can bring it to an end. It is in everyone's interest to look out for others and protect them from abuse.
When you report abuse, we will:
- listen to you.
- take your concerns seriously.
- respond sensitively.
- consider any immediate danger that the vulnerable adult may be in.
- talk to the police if it is a criminal matter.
- make enquiries about the concerns.
- consider the wishes of the adult at risk.
- develop a plan with the adult that will keep them safe in the future.
Action may be taken against the person causing them harm.
You can find out more in this leaflet about Keeping you safe from abuse (PDF).
The police will record any crime as a hate crime where the victim or any other person perceives it was motivated by hostility or prejudice towards their identity.
You can report hate crime online using True Vision. If it is an emergency, you should call 999.
Stop Hate Crime have videos about disability hate crime on the True Vision website that may help you to understand more.
Surrey Police have a Pegasus card that can help people with a disability or illness who may find it hard to communicate with them. You can tell Surrey police about yourself, like where you live, how you communicate and what support you need. They keep your information safe on their computer so it can be found quickly if you call them.
You can apply online for the card. They will send you a card and a personal identification (PIN) number. You can also show your card to fire and rescue and ambulance staff.
Surrey fire and rescue service
Stay safe by booking a free safe and well visit from Surrey Fire and Rescue. The team can provide personalised advice about fire safety at a time convenient for you.
You can arrange a visit by:
- Phone on 0800 085 0767
- Text on 07971 691898
The government has guidance about how to make your home safe from fire, including an easy read version.
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle is a way of making sure that emergency services like the police, paramedics and fire-fighters can find out very quickly if there is anything they need to know about. This could be allergies, medication or how to contact your family or support provider.
You fill out a form with your information, put it in the bottle in your fridge. You put one sticker on the inside of your front door and one on your fridge.
You can get one when you have your safe and well visit and from Fire Stations.
Essential support available in Surrey
Local people are feeling the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and the Surrey County Council Directory of Support is designed to help, by pulling together all the essential support available in the county.
The Essential Directory of Support is also available online but split into three categories: financial support, welfare support and health and mental wellbeing support.
In addition, alternative versions of the Essential Directory of Support (Screen Reader Accessible, Large Print and Easy Read) are available online as well.
However, if you require a hard copy of the alternative formats or require the document in another language, please contact us as follows: