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Anne, Princess Royal visits Sworders in Stansted to launch autism housing project for Ugley

Anne, Princess Royal was at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers in Stansted on Wednesday (Nov 27) to launch a fund-raising campaign for a specialist autism project half a mile up the B1383.

The aim of the £2.2m Orchard Project, run by national autism charity Hft, is to erect six purpose-built homes – each with bespoke sensory environments – on a site in Pound Lane, Ugley, with a supported living service specifically for young adults with complex needs and on the autistic spectrum.

As patron of Hft, the 69-year-old Princess Royal spent time at a reception at Sworders attended by more than 200 people to find out more about the project. This included being shown a video walk-through of the development.

HR Princess Royal (22773650)
HR Princess Royal (22773650)

Hft chairman Baroness Judith Jolly – who until August was the Liberal Democrats' spokesperson for health – talked about the charity’s experience in supporting people with autism and the need for this type of specialist service in the area.

Keith May, divisional director for Hft, provided more information about the development, as well as discussing the future local impact of the project.

The Princess Royal then met guests including Hft trustees, family members, patrons and local dignitaries, as well as the project’s architects and consultants and prospective donors, trusts and foundations.

HR Princess Royal (22773656)
HR Princess Royal (22773656)

Vanessa Edwards, Hft’s director of fundraising, said: “We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and share our plans for this essential specialist service.

"There are too many young adults living in environments unsuited to their needs. Through this project we are creating purpose-built homes and a supported living service where people can gain some independence and have the freedom to make choices about how they want to live.

“Today’s royal visit marks the start of our campaign to raise the remaining funds for the build, which will help us open the door for young people with autism to live the life they choose.”

Hft has already put £800,000 into the project.

HR Princess Royal (22773659)
HR Princess Royal (22773659)

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