Phones4u founder to pay for Crawley parents to sign up to autism programme

John Caudwell
John Caudwell

The founder of Phones4u is promising to pay £2,000 for each family which signs up to a Crawley mum’s course for parents with autistic children.

Jo-Ann D’Costa-Manuel’s new initiative Autism Parent Empower will be funded by billionnaire philanthropist John Caudwell when it launches in March.

Jo-Ann D'Costa-Manuel

Jo-Ann D'Costa-Manuel

Jo-Ann said he had agreed to pay for parents and children in the first year of entry to enrol onto her 12-week courses free-of-charge.

She said: “He understands the current state of autism in the UK incredibly well and is determined to make a difference.

“He truly is UK’s billionaire with a heart and is making several invisible plights our county is facing, visible and supported.”

She added: “There is a huge gap in UK autism provisions, especially within early years.

“John Caudwell’s generous personal investment will help families access crucial training whilst helping us create an innovative, sustainable and effective model.

“The best proven interventions in UK come at huge costs which only the wealthy can afford, or families willing to sell their homes and possessions as we did. This is unacceptable. Early intervention is crucial and needs to be accessible to all regardless of price tags.”

Jo-Ann and her husband Wayne Manuel’s youngest son was diagnosed with autism at aged two.

She said he was progressing well after receiving early intervention immediately after diagnosis.

She said: “The family have walked a rough early journey and are filled with altruism determined to give back.”

Jo-Ann created Autism Parent Empower, which will launch at the House of Commons and has joined forces with leading Autism providers across the UK. 

Child Autism UK partnering with Autism Parent Empower will teach parents behavioural strategies and techniques using ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) focusing on improving life skills including speech, toileting and self-care.

Brainstorm health will provide parents hands on dietary workshops and education to optimise their child’s nutrition and health.

Parent Angels will work on family wellbeing and key skills needed to rise confidently and successfully to the massive challenge autism brings the whole family unit.

The programmes start on March 5. Parents can register at

Mr Caudwell founded a charity which helps desperately ill or disabled children and their families, Caudwell Children.

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