CareTrade was founded to address the lack of opportunities for autistic adults leaving school and beyond to lead purposeful and fulfilled lives.

Founders Katharine Doré OBE and Karen Edwards are both parents of autistic sons, now in their twenties. They had first met when their sons were three in 1997 and they went on to be co-founders and Trustees of Ambitious about Autism (TreeHouse).

In 2008 Katharine and Karen were shocked to realise that whilst much progress had been made in education since 1997 for children with autism that nothing seemed to be in place to enable them to have a purposeful life beyond school.  The concept of CareTrade was launched at a gala performance of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night’ and the charity was formed in February 2009.

Our first project opened in Spring 2010 with 12 students from Spa School, attending our working café programme hosted at Best Italian, community café in Borough Market (sadly no longer there) shortly followed by our partnership with Guys & St Thomas’ NHS Trust and others to deliver the first supported internship programme specifically for autistic young people in the UK, now known as The Autism Project.

CareTrade believes in leading by example, thinking differently and piloting new ways of doing things, whilst seeking to build models that become self-sustaining and can be replicated. To date we have created over 350 opportunities supporting autistic Londoners, helped many young people into work and delivered over 1000 hours of autism awareness training to employers we have partnered with.

With your support we can build on this foundation to help many more autistic adults to lead the purposeful working lives they want, and to support employers to embrace neurodiversity to ensure there are more opportunities for autistic people in the future.

In 2023 CareTrade incorporated Employment Autism into the charity

CareTrade Founders

Karen Edwards
Karen has a BA(Hons) in Interior Design and worked in the design industry for ten years before starting a successful career in fundraising and senior management in the charity sector. She co-founded and was a Trustee of Ambitious about Autism (TreeHouse) 1997-2007 whilst leading the UCL Cancer Institute Research Trust, 2000-2009.  She is a SHOUT Crisis Volunteer, a Trustee of Advocacy Services & Special Educational Training (ASSET 2007-present) and a Vice President of Ambitious about Autism (2010 to present) and has previously served as a National Councillor for the National Autistic Society (1999-2001), Trustee of Parents Autism Campaign for Education (PACE 1999-2002) and a Primary School Governor (2004-2007). Karen has led CareTrade as the CEO since the development of our first project in 2010.

Katharine Doré OBE
Katharine trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and worked for twenty five years in the professional theatre. Katharine was also a co-founder and Trustee of Ambitious about Autism (TreeHouse) 1997-2008. In 2009 she was awarded an OBE for her work in Special Education.  In 2010 Katharine began the restoration of an olive farm in Bestagno, Italy which she how runs with her autistic son alongside her company Nudo. Katharine spends her time between London and Italy. She is a Vice President of Ambitious about Autism (2010 to present) and remains an active supporter of CareTrade.

please help us build a brighter future for autistic adults