THE chief executive of Wirral-based charity Autism Together has announced he is leaving the organisation later this summer.

Robin Bush said a change of personal circumstances and a new job closer to home in Preston are behind his decision to step down after almost six years in charge of the Bromborough based organisation.

He said: "This has been a hard decision. I've been in my role for nearly six fabulous years and I am very proud of everything that the organisation has achieved during this time.

"I had a change of personal circumstances last year and have now been offered a new position which is closer to my home in Preston and which will mean I am more available for my family."

The charity, which employs a thousand staff across Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales, has won a dozen awards in the last five years for the high quality of its support services for people on the autism spectrum. It offers extensive residential, supported living and day services to nearly 450 people.

The organisations's Board of Trustees has begun the process of finding a replacement for Mr Bush. Chairperson Andrew Davies said: "We have been through some major changes in the last few years, including a re-brand.

"Autism Together is now established as a significant regional charity, with a national voice on issues that really matter to the people we look after.

"We have been able to expand our services into Cheshire and more recently North Wales.

"The board is committed to maintaining the ethos of our founders while making our expertise available to communities who need our specialist services.

"We wish Robin well in his future career.

"Our priority looking ahead is to protect and improve our services for people with autism in the difficult climate caused by years of austerity."