Every child deserves the chance to grow up strong, and reach their maximum potential. The Petra Ecclestone Foundation is helping children with autism and meningitis overcome their challenges while empowering their childhood.
The Petra Ecclestone Foundation exists to raise awareness of autism and meningitis and to support young people and their families who are directly or indirectly affected by meningitis and autism. We offer direct services and support for people with autism. Funding is also provided to other organisations and research centres working to improve understanding and available therapies.
The first of the Petra's Place centres for early diagnosis and treatment of autism is planned to open in 2018 in Kensington & Chelsea, London. Designed, developed and operated by experts in the field of autism the centres will provide services and support to meet the needs of the young children and their families who use them.
Meningitis activity is focused on providing funds for awareness, direct support and research through a long established meningitis charity, Meningitis Now. We also fund other organisations and providers within the sector.
Our vision for helping children everywhere.
Leadership with an understanding for what our children need most.
Philanthropist and mother of 3 Petra Ecclestone set up this Foundation to help fund work in her dual areas of concern, meningitis and autism, both conditions affecting children and young people that have touched her personally.
As a teenager, Petra contracted viral meningitis - a truly frightening experience that changed her life. For nearly a decade, she has campaigned to raise funds and awareness for the charity Meningitis Now, emphasising how important it is to recognise the symptoms and act quickly.
For the last 2 years, Petra has funded the Meningitis Now signs and symptoms cards, which are put into the New Baby Bounty Bags, and distributed free to all mothers’ of newborns.
Coming across close friends and contemporaries with small children, of an age similar to her own, exhibiting symptomatic behaviour and potentially on the autistic spectrum, Petra saw their struggle to access the right facilities for diagnosis and therapy and was moved to action, she wanted to help. This need has driven her interest in expanding provision for young children and their families affected by Autism.
FOUNDER & DIRECTOR
PROF. SIMON BARON-COHEN
Director, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University
DR. CARRIE ALLISON
Director of Research Strategy, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University
CEO, Autism Research Trust
Jools and Christabel Holland
Understanding autism and how it affects children around the world.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior.
Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. These signs often develop gradually, though some children with autism reach their developmental milestones at a normal pace and then regress. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent in early childhood, typically before the age of three.
How We Help
The Petra Ecclestone Foundation provides services and support for young children with suspected or diagnosed autism and their families. We also offer funding for other organisations and benefactors who work in the area of autism.
The Petra's Place centres provide support for families with young children, aged 18 months to 4 years affected by autism.
These early diagnosis and therapy centres are designed, developed and operated by experts in the field of autism. We run services and support including early diagnosis and speech and language therapy, as well as an early years nursery to meet the needs of the young children and their families who use them.
Experts in the field approve and oversee all activity at the centres. Where appropriate, the Petra Ecclestone Foundation works in partnership with other charities and professional establishments.
We fund research and campaigns to raise awareness of autism, including highlighting the importance of early diagnosis and effective support. Activity is often targeted at particular groups including health, social care and education professionals, or parents of young children as well as to us all.
Understanding meningitis and the challenges children with it face.
Meningitis can affect anyone. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, it can be caused by different organisms, including bacteria and viruses.
What We Do
The Petra Ecclestone Foundation helps support the fight against meningitis in the UK through a partnership with Meningitis Now, founders of the meningitis movement in the UK. Their vision, shared by the Petra Ecclestone Foundation, is a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.
Our aim is to save lives by working with Meningitis Now to highlight the signs and symptoms of meningitis through on and offline awareness campaigns, targeted at particular vulnerable groups such as families with children under 5 and teenagers, or as general awareness for everyone.
We also want to improve the quality of life of those affected by the disease by providing support and by increasing the knowledge and understanding of the impact of meningitis with education, health and social care professionals which can help to improve the support they provide to those affected.
Targeted research can also inform what support is provided and can influence policy. Viral Meningitis, for example, affects many more people than bacterial meningitis but is little understood. All too often people are left struggling with the after-effects. Similarly, bacterial meningitis’s hidden impact on learning, speech, and language needs further research to be understood.
Raising awareness of the lifelong effect of the disease is important, but the need for increasing the availability of support is also crucial. Critical support for people affected by meningitis empowers them to move forward with their lives and achieve new goals.