Chertsey Radio Club buys Ofcom business radio licence to aid autism carers

Chertsey Radio Club (CRC) has bought a five-year simple business radio licence from Ofcom to allow those with autism and their carers to use 5 watt hand-held two-way radios to reduce some of the practical difficulties associated with the condition, following a raffle by the club to raise the necessary funds.

The project began when James Preece, CRC club member found that while his autistic son, Thomas aged 11 loved riding on his bike, he would often travel too far away or head off somewhere without letting his father know.

“Being an avid radio ham, I decided to see if Thomas would carry a little walkie-talkie with him, and whether he would he respond back to me and let me know where he was,” Preece said. He bought Thomas a Baofeng 888 UHF radio set, which contained two radios, a docking station and USB charge plug, together with some other accessories. He then added an Autism Awareness sticker to the radio, as a quick visual aid for the public.

Thomas took to using the radio and after a few frustrating conversations in which he’d reply “I’m here Dad”, without elaborating any further, he now routinely uses the radio to tell his father where he is and how soon he’ll be back.

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