M.A.T.E.S Autism Social Groups

MATES logo stretched

Meet. At. Toby’s and. Engage. Socially

Mini MATES is an exciting new monthly programme of events and activities for children and young people aged 6 to 8 who have, or are awaiting a diagnosis of autism.  Mini Mates meet once a month on a Thursday at Toby House.  It offers fantastic chances to take part in brilliant social activities. 

MATES Juniors is an exciting monthly programme of events and activities for children and young people aged 9 to 12 who have, or are awaiting a diagnosis of autism.  Mates Juniors meet once a month on a Tuesday and is a fantastic chance to take part in brilliant social activities whilst making friends in a completely relaxed and non-judgemental environment.

MATES Seniors is an exciting monthly programme of events and activities for young people aged 13+ who have, or are awaiting a diagnosis of autism.   They meet up on a Tuesday.

Invitations are usually given out at the end of each session, allowing young people the opportunity to decide sooner rather than later if they would like to come along next time. There’s no obligation to come to every session; we know that not everyone likes the same thing. That’s why we like to mix it up!

The exact start and end times of the sessions and what they cost are very much dependent on what we’re up to. We’ll let you know ahead of time what to expect, but rest assured, we do try to keep the cost to a minimum.

For more information,  contact Lynda Richardson on 0300 365 3055 or email lynda.richardson@ttht.co.uk





Recent feedback from some of our Mini Mates families:

“I would just like to take this opportunity to say how wonderful you and all the staff at The Toby Henderson Trust are in supporting our family over the last 3 and a half years and I’m so pleased you all came into our lives when you did. It really does mean the world to us how amazing you all are, especially with our girls. Our child attending (and enjoying) mini mates has already made a huge difference to us and I want to say a BIG thank you”. 

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“My autistic son struggles to interact with his peers. He has struggled to make friends leading to low self esteem. Mini mates has been a fantastic and fun way to enable him to build meaningful relationships with his peers whilst supported by trained staff who understand his difficulties”.

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“It’s amazing to have a safe, happy, nurturing environment to be able to leave my child where they can experience new things, learn more about social skills and friendships and just have an all out amazing time. This group was a lifeline for us when we were doubting everything, but with support from staff and their experience and knowledge, we are finding ways forward”.

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“My son really enjoys the mini mates sessions as he can be himself without any worries. His favourite part he says is his new friends that he has made there”.

Photos from our Mini Mates Group

Recent feedback from some of our Mates Juniors families:

“I can’t even begin to explain the value of the peace of mind the sessions bring. There are very few settings where I can drop my son off and know that all his needs will be met and the staff are willing and able to fully support him. For my son, the biggest benefit is that he’s able to be himself in safe environment and mix with peers who all understand one another”. 

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“My daughter has found the MATES Juniors group incredibly helpful. She is very self-conscious in most settings, but seeing all the diversity that exists with her peers has helped her to embrace all the things about herself that make her her, as well as supporting her in navigating outside friendships. The activities my daughter has taken part in through the group are fun, exciting and challenging, and are a highlight of her month”

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“My son thoroughly enjoys coming to Toby sessions. It’s so important as a parent of an autistic child to know I can leave him with staff who engage with him fully at his level and are skilled with letting him flourish in safe and exciting sessions. My son is also able to make friends, play and socialize with children who he sees are just like him.”

Photos from our Mates Juniors Group

Recent feedback from some of our Mates Seniors families:

“I’m over the moon with how much progress my daughter has made with meeting up with friends at the mates group, she really looks forward to her meet ups and talks about it all the time, this had really helped with her confidence and independence”

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“My son was overwhelmed by what he’d made and couldn’t stop talking about it. He said he loves Mates because he gets the chance to do so many things that he would never try otherwise. Thank you all so much”.

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“Thanks so much to everyone, he loved his first time at Toby House Mates.  He said “finally somewhere that everyone understands me” & “I can’t wait for next time”.  Us as parents are so happy we have found a place that he can spend time out of school, it will be massive to help with his social skills and meeting others and most of all to have fun, chill out & make new friends”.

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“This group has been a life saver for my son who has very few friends and low confidence.  Mates seniors has become his favourite place and he is developing more than I could of ever hoped”.

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“We have always found that our son really enjoys and appreciates these sessions. They allow him a chance to really be himself and to know and appreciate that there are many others like him. They provide entertainment, important social contact and a sense of community, continuity and support”.

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“My son benefits so much from attending the mates senior sessions at the Toby Henderson Trust, he looks forward to every session each month, it’s his happy place, a place he feels comfortable and is able to be himself, he has so much fun at the sessions and this also helps with his social and communication skills, a massive thank you again to all the staff at The Toby Henderson Trust”.

Photos from our Mates Seniors Group