Seven years ago, we partnered with John and Sue Phipps to set up the John Cowe Memorial Fund, to support groups in Wiltshire and Swindon providing advocacy and supported employment for people with Asperger’s Syndrome. The fund has provided support to DASH, Swindon Advocacy Movement and the Olive Tree Café.

Sue explains why they chose to establish a fund with us. “We approached the Foundation following the tragic death of my brother, John, in 2012. He had displayed many symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome and committed suicide aged 54. Despite the difficulties John faced he had carved out a successful career as an accountant, finally working in the finance department of the Ministry of Defence. 

"Like many people with Asperger’s, he was highly intelligent and a reliable employee. But, in the aftermath of our mother’s death, the practicalities of managing by himself was unfortunately too much of a challenge for him.

“After John’s death, we wanted to do something with his legacy to help other adults with this condition struggling to adapt to independent living. We were both aware of the potential pitfalls of setting up a charity ourselves and knew being attached to an existing one in some way would be much easier."

"We knew of Wiltshire Community Foundation and approaching them for help seemed the next logical step. The staff came to Swindon to meet us to discuss our ideas and helped us to put them into practice. We set the criteria and put forward our own ideas for grant-making and the Foundation agreed to manage our fund, provide ongoing support and maximise the investment.

“We know that our fund is in safe hands. At the same time, we have control over how it is spent, and we have had the satisfaction of seeing several projects blossom in the seven years since the fund was set up.”

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