A charity providing fun and care to children with autism is set to hold an open day to celebrate its new permanent home.
Spectrum Dundee has been looking after kids with additional needs after school at the halls of the Mains Parish Church on Claverhouse Road for 12 years.
However, its future was cast into doubt last year when the Church of Scotland announced plans to sell up.
But thanks to a local benefactor, Spectrum has secured the church halls for good.
Kirsty Anderson, chairwoman of Spectrum’s board, said the open day next Saturday was a chance for her and her staff to thank locals for their help.
“Friends, families, residents, businesses, former parents – anyone that has helped us over the years is welcome,” she said.
On the open day, which runs from noon-3pm with a grand opening at 12.30pm, locals will be able to see what Spectrum does to support children with autism day in, day out.
Stalls will be set up offering information on autism, as well as how to access other services across the region.
“I don’t think people realise how much work goes on behind the scenes to make this place run,” said manager Lori Clark.
“It’s not just the building – it’s us driving autism awareness.”
Spectrum was started in 2001 by local parents to promote the wellbeing of children with disorders on the autistic spectrum and has been based on Claverhouse Road since 2006.
After the Church of Scotland revealed its plans to sell, the charity scrambled to find a new home.
However, the generosity of late local woman Margaret Craig, who left a substantial sum in her will to support autism services, helped it to buy the halls.
Margaret’s husband John is the father-in-law of Derek McDonough, a former treasurer with the charity.
With Margaret’s only instruction being to use the money to support autism causes, John visited Spectrum while it was still looking for a new home – and elected to give it a boost.
Lori added: “Derek has been so supportive – both him and his wife Beth are probably our biggest supporters.
“John came and saw what we did and he liked it so he thought it was a good use for Margaret’s money.”
Other local support has come from Tesco, whose community team helped repaint, and kitchen wholesaler Houdens which supplied a complete kitchen free of charge.
Local joiner Grant Sampson, of G Samson Contracts Ltd, installed the kitchen without charging a penny.
Other help given to the charity, however, is tinged with sadness.
Local business J&R Man & Van came by in recent days to pick up equipment which had been damaged beyond repair by thoughtless vandals.
The charity has examined the possibility of CCTV to prevent it happening again – but it is beyond its budget at this time.
Lori added: “People have been going the extra mile for us, putting in their own time after what happened. It was really disheartening when we saw what the vandals had done.
“The open day has been in the works for some time and we’re not letting this get us down.
“We’re trying to turn a negative into a positive, and celebrating what is it we do here.”