We are really enjoying preparing for our SARG re-launch in February. The preparations take some of us back to our first launch in November 1999. We – Juan Carlos, Maria and I – held our first meeting in Dundee University with 12 people. We decided at first to take turns to present to give us some idea of each other’s work, and because we had absolutely no money. We quickly ran out of presenters, and at that point decided to join the real world and go for funding. From Maria’s kitchen at 1am (having co-opted Katie onto our mini ‘committee’), we promised ridiculous outputs – six seminars and a book – for the BPS £3000 award. No wonder they gave it to us! We were such a bargain, apparently. However, turns out we couldn’t stick to the budget, went on a spending spree for European speakers, and had to get more funds from other sources hastily in order to complete the series. But it was brilliant fun. We got so used to having cash for these autism research events, which increasingly felt like parties for our friends, that we pitched for the ESRC seminar competition and got that too. I don’t recall that it made us less spendthrift, but it was harder to overspend, fortunately. By 2007 we had 130 members. It was wonderful to find so much support across Scotland and beyond (Oh – and we even got the book!). Since then, David, Sue, Bonnie and Paula have joined us, adding a wealth of expertise, energy – and, hopefully, budgeting skills – to the new-look SARG.
by Evelyn McGregor