UFS in the Community: Bendigo Autism Asperger Group

BAAG is a local support group run by volunteers for those interested in and affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Membership to BAAG is free. We have been functioning for around 20 years in Bendigo (originally as the Bendigo Autism Family Support Group). BAAG meet regularly for informal morning tea and evening coffee events and for occasional social gatherings, and provide free refreshments at all of our events – catering for special dietary requirements and the needs of both adults and children.

Each year in May we run a free BAAG Autism Awareness event that is open to anyone who would like to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders. This event is always very well attended. Such an event costs around $5,000 to run but we believe the benefits far outweigh the costs as it enables those who attend to hear from world class speakers at no cost to themselves or their employers. This year we had Donna Williams coming to speak to us. Donna is an adult on the autism spectrum. Against a background of abuse, homelessness, illiteracy and innumeracy, Donna gained post graduate qualifications as a sociologist and teacher, became an author and is an accomplished public speaker, artist, singer-songwriter and performer. Donna has been an autism consultant since 1996 and brought a wealth of information to us.

In March 2015 BAAG donated $1,500 of quality books and DVD’s on ASD to the Bendigo Goldfields Central Library and supported the 2015 autism walk for Turn A Life Around, providing literature and manning an Autism information table for the duration of that event.

In 2016 and beyond, we will continue to offer informal support to those who support infants, children, teenagers and adults with autism. We continue to host a regularly updated website www.bendigoautism.org.au and Facebook page. We will continue to provide information directly to members or via our Facebook page and website, sharing resources and networking as we are able.

Donations such as the $1,995.80 that was presented to us by UFS Pharmacies, on behalf of their members are very much valued and enable the ongoing work of BAAG. They enable us to provide opportunities for people to meet together and to provide informal social gatherings for parents, families, adults and friends in an autism friendly environment. Donations such as the one from the UFS Building A Healthier Community program enable us to bring world renowned autism specialist guest speakers to Bendigo once a year free of charge for all who would like to learn more about autism. Donations also help us provide guest speakers (and yummy food) at some of our morning tea and evening coffee events, free to all those who attend. This directly benefits members and carers as many of them have challenging personal, social and financial circumstances.

We are thankful for the resources that we can get to our members and others in the community at no cost to those who need that information and support.

Thank you once again for the vital part that UFS Pharmacies’ members play in helping BAAG and so many other community organisations that do what we do. Your dedication and generosity helps keep groups that are run by volunteers functioning and helping others.



Sandra Burns
Secretary, BAAG