Project information

First Words Bursary Fund

The Puzzle Centre has pioneered a unique service delivering specialist early intervention to very young children with autism and intensive training and outreach support to their families which achieves life changing outcomes for all.

The Puzzle Centre's work is ongoing

Charity information: Puzzle Centre

Puzzle Centre logo
  • Need


    Autism is a serious developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, the world around them. The inability to communicate the most basic of needs - thirst, hunger, tiredness - often leads to frustration and anger which the child may express in biting, hitting or self harm. The distress experienced by the child's family often leads to loneliness, isolation, poor mental health,an inability of both parents to work and ultimately family breakdown and divorce.


    The Puzzle Centre's Nursery provides a bespoke package of care tailored to develop each child's learning, communication, social behaviour and play skills. Each session is delivered by an autism specialist teacher working in conjunction with a speech and language therapist and each child receives one to one support from a specialist learning assistant. A specialist occupational therapy team design and delivery an individualised programme for each child.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Offer its nursery provision to any child aged two - five years with a diagnosis of autism.


    » Following specialist staff's detailed assessments of each child, develop individual plans at the start of each term.
    » Run nine nursery session a week with play based activities which will specifically address the needs of each child as identified within their plans.
    » Provide detailed feedback on child's response to activities and share with parents at the end of each nursery session.
    » At end of each term, meet with parents and review all feedback, identify child's progress and revise individuals plans for following term

    Each year up to 30 children will develop more appropriate behaviours, be better able to socially integrate, have increased independence and will be prepared for school life

  • Impact


    Children will have developed lifelong communication and social behaviour skills, their parents/carer will have developed their confidence in their ability to care and support their child and will be stronger advocates for their child when dealing with other statutory providers. This success will be demonstrated by the information recorded on the child's progress whilst at the Nursery and the feedback given by their parents.


    Puzzle Centre's Nursery costs £220,000 a year. The Puzzle Centre applies for local authority funding if a child has a Statement of Special Educational Need (SEN) in place which names the Nursery as an appropriate provider. With Statements taking a minimum of 6 months to be approved and only 15% of children starting at the Nursery with a Statement in place, Puzzle Centre needs to raise £106,000 a year to provide children with specialist early intervention at such a crucial time in their lives.


    Donors to this project will receive termly reports which will detail the Nursery's activities and how the children and their families, attending the Nursery, have been supported. Where appropriate the Puzzle Centre will provide feedback from families.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £248,976

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £99,214 Teachers Working within Nursery
      £34,758 Therapists Working within Nursery
      £48,531 Learning Assistants Working within Nursery
      £30,887 Support staff and costs Support staff £23,183 and other labour costs £7704
      £22,200 Rent Proportion allocated to Nursery
      £13,386 Administration/overheads All utilities and service costs for premises

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Big Lottery Reaching Communities Grant Programme £73,053 Guaranteed
    Anonymous donor £20,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Puzzle Centre is based in Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire


    Very young children aged 2-5 years with a diagnosis of autism or other communication needs and their parents/carers.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Puzzle Centre has been operating since 2001 and it has directly helped over 100 children and their families from the region. Families come from surrounding counties and often travel a 50 mile round trip journey to access the provision. Puzzle Centre has an enviable track record of achieving life changing outcomes for our children and families and has attracted attention from professionals throughout the UK many of whom visit the Centre each year to gain advice and support from our staff

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Alexandra Stanyer

    As founder and Director of the Puzzle Centre Alex is responsible for overseeing the Nursery provision and assessing all children requiring a place.

    Lesley Ann Martin - Head Of Nursery

    As Head of Nursery Lesley Ann is responsible for over seeing the day to day running of the Nursery provision.