Trustees help to make the UK the sixth most giving country in the world and play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s work.

This week, we look to one of our Trustees, Stewart Rapley, and see why he got involved with The National Autistic Society.

Stewart Rapley

“My link with all things autistic started after my youngest son (then 13) was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome following some difficulties at school. I was subsequently also diagnosed. My search for support and information led me to The National Autistic Society. 

“Given my professional experience in helping large organisations with change, it was suggested I seek election to the Council (now the National Forum) − where I have served for three years. I was elected as a Trustee from the Council in 2015 and hope to use my experience to support the charity as it goes through the next challenging years. 

“Visiting services at Daldorch House School and Catrine Bank last year, what struck me was the sheer scale of the effort, resource and investment required − I believe there were around 500 staff required in various roles to operate the sites, providing support for about 50 autistic people. There is an old African saying that ‘it takes the whole village to bring up a child’. It was a great reminder that we are in this to make a permanent difference in the lives of individuals − and that takes a lot of effort. 

“The highlight for me last year has to be the Too Much Information campaign. This chimed with me personally as it seemed to get to the heart of things, has been referenced by contacts of both my wife and son in their work contexts and has clearly had a major impact nationally. 

“I also want to highlight the simple achievement of keeping going, in what is a very tough environment for charities right now. Our day-to-day work is carried out by many dedicated folk working away quietly on things that contribute, directly or indirectly, to providing an improved quality of life for those we seek to serve.”

Find out more about our Trustees.