An organisation which specialises in highlighting and raising awareness of ‘hidden disabilities’ has been awarded a substantial amount of funding.

Owl Blue, based at Maryport, was awarded enough to pay for freelance consultant Geoff Evans a couple of days a month over three years.

Nichola McDougall, from Owl Blue, said: “We are absolutely delighted. Being able to have a freelance consultant, for example two days a month, means we can run services Cumbria-wide for businesses, families, schools, voluntary organisations and anyone who wants an insight into autism, to help raise awareness and to give a better understanding of people with autism.”

Owl Blue has been self-funded over the last 10 years, through its shop in Maryport. As demand grew for their services they had to look elsewhere and Francis Scott Charitable Trust at Kendal were approached.

Nichola added: “We are overjoyed, it’s a big step forward for Cumbria to get these services out there.”

Helen Carter, director of Francis Scott Charitable Trust, said: “We try and support young people who are experiencing barriers in a challenging environment, Owl Blue is doing that and they do it well. For a relatively small organisation they achieve so much for families directly and as an organisation for their professional approach in enabling businesses to be more inclusive.

"They are helping people to understand how to work with people with, as they say, invisible disabilities. Nichola and Stuart in particular are just so passionate about it and are really compelling and encouraging.”

Nichola added: “In the past local authorities, NHS and doctors have all took part in sessions as well as loads and loads of sessions for families.

“The funding has made it possible to offer this Cumbria wide, to anyone that wants to increase their understanding.”

The organisation is already doing webinars and organising Zoom conferences with families. Covid permitting there will also be physical sessions in groups. To find out more email