Sunderland mum to start social club for children with autism

A Wearside mum, whose son suffers with autism, is set to open a new club for children who also live with the condition.

Shelly Waddle, from Washington, is set to launch a new kids club for children with autism. JACK’s Autism Club 4 Kids, will be a weekly club which provides support to the children as well as their parents.

The mum-of-three set up the group, named after her youngest son Jack, to give children a place to socialise, build up their confidence and relax in a non-judgemental environment.

Shelly said: “Over the years, I have found it extremely difficult to find places to take Jack. There is very little around, especially places where you don’t have to be referred to by social services or go on a huge waiting list.

“That is what got me thinking of opening JACK’s. A club for children with autism to come and socialise, interact and basically get out of the house!

“The parents and carers also get a chance to have a cuppa and chat to others who are in the same boat which I feel is needed.”

Shelly originally started the JACK’s Autism Club 4 Kids Facebook page as a place to post regular updates to interested parents and has since gained a lot of interest from parents around Sunderland wanting to visit the club with their children once it opens.

The club is set to launch in the next few weeks and will run on a Monday evening from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Ayton Community Centre, Washington.

Numerous activities are available for the children to enjoy including the chance to play musical instruments.

Shelly is currently in the process of setting up a constitution in order to apply for funding to support the club, however any donations including toys and other instruments for the children to interact with are massively appreciated and can be collected.

Lesley Summers, who has donated a guitar among other items, said: “I think the club is a fantastic idea and long overdue. I know a few people with autistic kids. I wish JACK’s lots of luck.”

Anyone wishing to contact JACK’s Autism Club 4 Kids can message them through Facebook at or via email at

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.