A Chippenham charity has raised £22,000 in memory of five-year-old Emerton Chisholm-Joyce to support families who have a child with autism or leukaemia.

The Emerton Foundation, set up by parents Lisa Chisholm and Stephen Joyce, raised the money after launching just a year ago at the end of March.

The Springboard opportunity nursery in Chippenham and the North Wiltshire and Devizes Portage Service will also receive £4,000 each.

Emerton, who was diagnosed with autism and leukaemia aged two, had daily chemotherapy until his death in December 2012.

He also received support from the Springboard and the Portage Service, which each year fight to raise money to keep their services going.

Mum Lisa, 37, of Harden’s Mead, Chippenham, said: “Initially we had only thought about helping individual families, but when we heard the about struggles Springboard and the Portage Service were having we thought ‘that’s still helping individual families’.

“It made a huge difference just to have that support of professionals being able to help out with the understanding of autism because they’re so rigid on routine and don’t like change.

“Emerton personally didn’t communicate at the time, he didn’t start talking until he was older and it was being able to have that support giving you different ideas of what to do in those situations.”

The Emerton Foundation has supported several families throughout the year, providing supermarket and toy vouchers for parents who have given up work to care for their child.

It has also provided babysitters so parents can have a break, and has paid for a cleaner to come in to help a family with two children who have autism.

Miss Chisholm said: “We wanted to be able to do our little bit, knowing firsthand what those families are going through.”