2nd November 2021
I wanted to let you know that I have decided to retire from my role as Trustee and Chair of BeyondAutism by Spring 2022. To this end, I have asked my fellow Trustees to find my replacement and advertisements for applications to this post will shortly appear in both print and online publications. Stepping down as Chair and leaving BeyondAutism, after 21 years spent building it up, has not been an easy decision to take but I believe that it is the right one and that now is the right time.
It is bittersweet to leave an organisation that you have steered and devoted your life to. Bitter, because I worry about what I am going to do without BeyondAutism in my life, and because I worry that I won’t be involved in its future and the paths it might take. Sweet, because I have such pride in what we have achieved, and because I have confidence in my fellow Trustees, our CEO, Senior Management Team, and all our staff.
Over the past 21 years, I have led the growth of the charity from scratch. However, I have not done this on my own. No charity is the sum of one person, it is a collaboration between many like-minded individuals, who share a common belief in the aims and the objectives of the charity and who are willing to give their time, expertise, access to contacts, and sometimes their money, in order to help the charity to grow and to ultimately thrive.
I am very proud of BeyondAutism’s achievements. From its humble beginnings as a class of 4 children at The Rainbow School, to the substantial charity it is today: two Ofsted outstanding schools, our buildings owned by the charity, a thriving Sixth Form, an expanding Post-19, and emerging Early Years and Outreach Services. I am also proud that because we have always been prepared to challenge, we have helped to make ABA appreciated and accessible to many. Most importantly of all, I am extremely proud of how we have been able to support and promote the needs of so many of our beneficiaries and their families.
The future is bright, and I am excited to see where it takes BeyondAutism. If I had any doubts I would not be stepping down. I believe I am leaving the charity with a strong Trustee Board comprised of professionals who are experts in their fields, combined with the outstanding leadership of our CEO, her excellent Senior Management Team and an enormously capable team of staff.
For my own part, I hope to have a little more “me” time. However, I am also hoping to pursue new avenues supporting adults with learning difficulties to remain and to thrive in their local communities. The lack of provision for adults leaving education is even more extreme than the one I encountered back in the late 90s, when I started our first school to provide the best education for my daughter and children just like her. I now want to focus on life after education for adults with learning difficulties.
To everyone receiving this letter, my sincere thanks for everything you have done to help me and to support BeyondAutism over the past 21 years; I will of course continue to support the charity as it grows, and I hope you will too.
With my best wishes,
Karen Sorab OBE