TWO friends have combined their personal and professional experiences to help improve the lives of people living on the autism spectrum.
Working from their small, but cosy, Bolton town centre office, Yanela Ntauzana and Polite Moyo have big plans for making real change in their field of social care.
The friends, both from Bolton, have recently established Enabling Support Ltd, a service to provide person-centred care and specialised support for people, living in and around the town, with autism and their families/carers.
With a tagline of 'Understanding, Supporting and Empowering', they believe everyone on the autism spectrum is different and, therefore, need something more than just a 'one size fits all' care model.
Instead they are working to establish a support network which will provide one-and-one care for people with autism, tailored to their needs and those of their family.
It is a particular journey of passion for Yanela, aged 35, who is a mum of two boys, Yanick Maseko, aged 12, and Ritchie Maseko, aged seven, who have both been diagnosed with autism.
She said: "There's a lot of generalisations that people still use when talking about autism , people still think people with autism are all the same.
"My two sons are both on the spectrum and people say to me it should be easy because they will both be the same, expecting them to be good at something like maths or art, but they are both so different and not everyone with autism is brilliant in certain subjects, everyone is an individual.
"When my eldest was diagnosed 10 years ago I had never heard of autism but you hear a lot more about it now and we want to be part of the move towards creating more awareness and services."
Yanela, who has previously worked as a trainer and an autism resource coordinator in County Durham, has teamed up with Polite, aged 44, who had worked in health and social care with children with special needs in Manchester, to establish Enabling Support Ltd in March.
Working with people on the autism spectrum, they have developed a service which will allow specially trained individuals time to work with people coming to the service.
It involves getting to know their likes and dislikes, concerns, anxieties in order to build a picture of a person and learn best how to improve their lives with a personalised care plan.
It could be anything from helping to use public transport, talking to a group of people or just developing a little bit more independence.
Having worked with people on the autism spectrum, they both understand how it takes time and understanding to build a relationship with a person of any age, as well as their families or carers.
Polite said: "You have to build a relationship up, it will let someone open up and trust you, then you can get to know them. You have to take time to get to know them.
"That one-to-one service, the specialist support, will always make a difference no matter a persons age.
"Once you can help make a small change, be it going out for a walk in the park once a day, it can make a big difference."
As well as providing support for a person to achieve a certain goal or social activity, the organisation also provides help accessing the community, other welfare services, improving indepedent living and helping understanding what the autism spectrum means for someone recently diagnosed and their families.
The pair would also like to help families and carers have a short break by providing activities for the person they care for.
They also want to help provide specialised training in the autism spectrum for people working in social health care.
Currently establishing links with the local authorities and organisations, Yanela and Polite have a big task a head of them but one they feel prepared to conquer.
Yanela added: "Having that personal experience and drive makes us want to go that extra mile.
"I've recently moved to Bolton and I have identified a gap in autistic specific services, especially those providing personal support.
"I've sat with people are know how important it is to take time to get to know someone properly. But when you do and help to make positive changes it's such an amazing achievement for everyone.
"We are fortunate that we have worked in the of autism and we can see the brilliant things people on the spectrum can do and also how important it is do do these things properly, working with them and their families."
To find out more about Enabling Support Ltd visit www.enablingsupport.co.uk.