Residential Services – Ashlar House

Ashlar House was opened in October 1988 as a direct response to a shortfall in service provision aimed specifically to meeting the needs of adults with autism. The house is a large Victorian building owned by Leeds Federated Housing Association. It is situated in its own grounds in the Chapel Allerton area of North Leeds and has easy access to a range of local facilities including shops, pubs, cafes, churches and a sports centre. There are also playing fields, parks and woodland nearby. Public transport into Leeds is easily accessible and the journey takes about 10 minutes. There is a sizeable garden to the front of the property and a secure area to the rear. Ashlar House does not provide nursing care.

For more information please contact Russ Tully on (0113) 2262700 or at


VACS offers support ranging from 2hrs per week to 24hrs per day, 365 days a year. Offer of a placement is subject to an initial assessment in conducted relatives, existing carers and other professionals. Our aim is to create a service, which is flexible, adaptable and person centred.

Outreach and Community Support The majority of the work we carry out takes place in community settings in order to promote social inclusion whether people wish to use their own home or come into one of our bases (see below). Leeds Autism Services is registered with the CQC (Care Quality Commission) to provide domiciliary care which means we can support people with personal care needs in an individual’s own home, if this is required.

VACS Bases

We have 2 buildings which serve as bases from which people can access the community. We also use these bases for people to develop and hone skills which can then be transferred into community settings or used on an on-going basis. New Mabgate is based in Armley and Grape Street is based in Hunslet; They are both self-contained units which are secure, light, spacious, and divided into smaller rooms for workshops and offices as well as a large areas for communal use.


Prior to commencement of any placement, Leeds Autism Services VACS will undertake a detailed and holistic assessment of an individual’s needs. This includes non-autism related information such as physical health needs, personal preferences and daily living skills in addition to more specialised areas such as sensory processing needs, communication and social understanding. We try to involve as many relevant people are possible during the assessment as we aim to get the best overall picture of someone we can prior to starting a placement. VACS conduct the assessment process in a sensitive and respectful manner and aim to make the process as easy as possible for potential customers, carers, families and other professionals. VACS will not provide support to people if we do not feel that the service will fully meet their needs. N.B. – VACS / LAS are not able to diagnose conditions.

Behaviour strategies + risk assessment

VACS works hard to ensure the safety and enjoyment of people who use the service. While we aim to ensure people are safe when being supported by us, we also appreciate that in order to live a fulfilled life people will sometimes need to take some level of risk. VACS assess risks by taking into account the abilities and needs of people on an individual basis. We also realise that some people on the autism spectrum may have difficulties with behaviours which may not always be appropriate to their setting. VACS employ pro-active strategies and work with people in order to develop more effective or appropriate strategies. All staff members within our services are trained in Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) to assist with management of behaviours focusing on early intervention and low-arousal techniques in order to prevent incidents and crises whilst promoting personal liberty and independence for the people we support.


VACS aim to ensure that all activities people access are interlinked to ensure consistency and provide people with ways of working which are not reliant on Gestalt thinking and transference of skills. For example, someone may work in a budgeting workshop to enable them to develop techniques which work for that individual and could then be carried through into other activities such as paying for a activity, going shopping or paying their bills. We aim to provide meaningful, outcomes based packages of support rather than a fragmented timetable of activities and hope to ensure people are engaged in a process of lifelong development. People are usually supported on a 1:1 basis or higher if required, however, we also run group sessions if this is something people wish to take part in. Activities are individualised, so we will try our best to support any activity which may benefit or be enjoyed by the people who receive support. Activities usually fall into one of the areas listed below:

Lifeskills - This may include support maintenance and development of skills in areas such as using public transport, diet, money and budgeting skills, housework, cookery or paying bills. Both bases have a life skills area where people can practice prior to facing ‘real-life’ situations although much of the work in this area takes place in community settings or in people’s own homes.

Arts - We provide a wide range of arts based activities which includes, art + craft, pottery, dance, music, drama, photography or film. This work may take place in one of our bases or in people’s homes although we also support people to attend galleries, classes or college courses within the Leeds area. People may also want to take part in artistic pursuits within their own home.

Education - Although LAS do not currently provide formal education, we are able to provide support to enable people to develop and maintain their skills in areas such as literacy, numeracy and IT. We also support people to access colleges or other educational establishments and are able to identify and support people to take part in other forms of education such as online courses or training.

Employment - LAS are able to assist people in preparing for work and to go through the process of finding employment or suitable work placements on either a paid or voluntary basis. We can locate and support people to access relevant courses and training as well as providing help and advice with completing application forms or creating CV’s. LAS are also able to work with prospective employers to provide support to them regarding the needs of individuals and ensure their rights are adhered to.

Language and Communication - Everyone who receives support from our organisation has an individualised communication statement and integrated support in language and communication. We focus on maintaining and developing the individual’s existing and preferred methods of communication and may include Makaton, visual support, PECS and other augmentative forms of communication. Some people also benefit from having specific sessions focusing on areas of language and communication.

Leisure - It is well established that people need some form of relaxation and enjoyable stimulation. We are able to help people overcome barriers to accessing leisure based activities and this can also help people to maintain good levels of physical and mental wellbeing. We support a wide range of leisure activities which includes assisted cycling, gym + sports activities, bowling, horse riding, walking / hiking, arts based activities, visits to areas of interest, eating out and cinema – to name but a few! As with everything we do, activities are identified on an individual basis so the possibilities are endless.

For more information please contact Pete Hughes on (0113) 2452 645 or at