A Wirral charity specialising in autism support is encouraging people to get out there and get active this April, in order to promote autism acceptance.
Bromborough-based Autism Together is celebrating Autism Acceptance Month throughout April and its Get Active For Autism challenge begins on 1 April.
April’s month of events will continue the celebrations that take place each year on 2 April, World Autism Awareness Day. This year the charity is changing the message of the month to one of ‘acceptance’ rather than simply ‘awareness’.
Sue Stubbs, Autism Together’s CEO, said, “This April we will be celebrating Autism Acceptance Month in order to better reflect what people in the autistic community are asking us to focus on.
“We’ve listened to comments received via social media during awareness months of the past, when many people asked us to consider altering our message in order to campaign for autism acceptance. Other charities, including the National Autistic Society, have also decided to make this change in 2022.
“In terms of our message during the month, it’s all about understanding, support and acceptance for autistic people, something we thoroughly believe in as a charity and service provider.”
Autism Together’s Get Active For Autism challenge was pioneered last year, in the midst of the pandemic, to allow people to feel part of a fundraising event without all having to meet at one location, getting involved and raising money and awareness in their own communities instead.
Chloe Jones from Autism Together’s Fundraising team, explained, “Spring is in the air and it’s time to get those trainers and walking boots out of the closet and prepare for our Autism Acceptance Month challenge.
“We’re asking participants to walk, run, cycle, swim, or even hop, for 54 miles during the month of April, and raise a minimum of £54 for our charity and the people we support.
“The event will run throughout April and all ages and abilities are free to take part, wherever they are. Last year, we raised over £11,000 during this event – in 2022, with your help, we hope to beat that target.”
The charity have chosen ‘54’ as the target because later this year they will be celebrating their 54th birthday. The entire event has been set up online at: www.givepenny.com/campaign/gafa54miles
Chloe continues, “The site has full details of how to get involved. It’s easy for people to sign up and start sharing with their friends and family to gather sponsorship.
“Then, from April 1st, people can start logging their miles and money raised to see where they stand in our leaderboards, perhaps even enjoying a friendly competition with friends and family as to who can finish highest. Everyone who completes the challenge gets a fridge magnet and certificate.”
New for 2022, Autism Together is also encouraging schools to get involved through a separate ‘Schools Challenge’ where pupils can be sponsored to undertake 54-minutes of exercise or sporting activity.
The school that raises the most money will receive new reading books for their class, and all pupils taking part will receive a certificate.
Schools will also be able to access free downloadable resource packs throughout Autism Acceptance Month, including a recorded presentation for children and younger people about autism, with a focus on understanding and acceptance of people’s differences.
Also in April, the charity will be working with the Trafford Centre in Salford, Greater Manchester, to launch the shopping centre’s new accessibility guide for people with hidden disabilities.
Members of Autism Together’s team will be taking this opportunity to promote greater acceptance and awareness of autism by running an interactive and educational installation within the centre itself. The team will be at the Trafford Centre on April 1, 2, 12 and 13.
Autism Together will also be working with Independent Wirral to hold a celebration of autism acceptance at Woodside Ferry Markets in Birkenhead to mark the close of Autism Acceptance Month. They will be selling craft items made by the people the charity supports, along with interactive installations and much more at the event on the weekend of Saturday, 30 April and Sunday, 1 May.
Find out more about Autism Acceptance Month events and celebrations here: www.autismtogether.co.uk/autism-acceptance-month
If you’d like to support the work Autism Together does, you can make a donation via the charity’s website: www.autismtogether.co.uk/donate
Image: This year Autism Together is changing its message during April from one of awareness-raising to promoting acceptance for autistic people. Pictured are Clayton and Stephen (l-r front) two of the people Autism Together supports, along with Jenny their support worker.