Merseyside charity wins national award for helping regional businesses become autism friendly

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Merseyside charity Autism Together

North West charity, Autism Together, has won a national award for helping regional businesses become more autism friendly. The Merseyside-based organisation claimed the Community Engagement Award at the recent Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards.

The accolade was given for the charity’s pioneering Autism Champions scheme and for helping increase autism awareness in businesses across the North West region and beyond.

Since 2016, Autism Together has offered training to local businesses on how to be more autism aware and make their workplace or public amenity more inviting and comfortable for people with autism.

The courses provide organisations with easy to implement strategies for assisting customers with autism, while in-depth training is available for businesses which have employees on the autism spectrum and wish to learn more about the condition.

Michelle Walklett, manager of the charity’s Autism Training and Advice Service (ATAS) received the award from host Esther Rantzen at London’s Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square. Michelle said: “It is estimated that there are approximately 1 in 100 people in the UK with a diagnosis of autism, many of whom can feel overwhelmed accessing public services, resulting in them becoming isolated and withdrawn.

“Our aim is to make the region more autism aware by asking organisations to commit to providing autism-friendly services and for their staff to undergo autism-awareness training.

“We have succeeded in building a network of Autism Champions and have trained well over 1,000 people across the North West since 2016, with interest growing further afield.”

In order to become Autism Champions, organisations must ensure at least 10% of their public-facing staff receive the half-day Autism Champion training; make reasonable, autism-friendly adjustments to their physical environment and practice; provide autism-specific sessions, where possible; and commit to a review every three years, ensuring the required standards and skills have been maintained.

Picked above (left to right) members of Autism Together’s Autism Training and Advice Service receive an award from a representative of Markel and host Esther Rantzen (far right) at the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards.

www.autismtogether.co.uk

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