The Countess of Wessex is in our region today as she opens a new North East Centre for Autism.

The Countess toured the £9 million centre meeting staff, students, sponsors and parents who founded the charity in 1980.

The vision behind the centre, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, was to improve the range of specialist services available across the region for children, young people and adults with autism. The centre houses a new purpose built school, college, short breaks and residential accommodation.

Her Royal Highness met families who access the centre, as she visited a toddler group, the school and college facilities.

The Countess of Wessex met families that use the centre in Co Durham Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

We are delighted to invite The Countess of Wessex to Newton Aycliffe to see our centre and to meet some of the families that we support. The charity has gradually increased the range of services provided, as they have been able to refurbish some existing buildings on the site.

John Phillipson, CEO for NEAS