Autism Initiatives Group is welcoming registrations for its third annual ‘Walk for Autism’ campaign. The fundraising challenge aims to bring people from across the UK and Ireland together to raise awareness and secure vital funds that will support those with autism, a condition that affects more than 700,000 individuals in the UK alone.
The charity is encouraging members of the public to walk the walk and not just talk the talk by taking 10,000 steps each day for eight days finishing on World Autism Awareness Day. Participants can walk solo, with a group of friends, family or colleagues or with other ‘Walk for Autism’ supporters.
Fundraising Manager at Autism Initiatives Group Liz Oakley said: “As a charity, we aim to help change the lives of people on the autism spectrum one step at a time and we’re calling on the general public to sign up for our annual ‘Walk For Autism’ campaign to help support this goal whilst encouraging community spirit and a sense of general health and wellbeing.
“Walkers will be sent a pedometer and a t-shirt to help them on their way, as well as receivinglots of support and advice so they can feel part of our nationwide network and come together to achieve something incredible for those who are affected by autism.”
“The money raised by ‘Walk for Autism’ will provide families with much-needed support and help autistic adults develop essential life skills. Last year, funds donated by our campaigners was used to support numerous projects in the UK and Ireland including specialist equipment for non-verbal communication, sensory equipment, and specialist support for those diagnosed on the higher end of the autism spectrum.”
Autism Initiatives Group was set up in 1972 by Merseyside mum Pat Minshull. When Pat realised that her son Peter had autism her initial concern was for his education, and with a group of supporters, she successfully raised funds to buy a property in Southport where she founded Peterhouse School in 1973. As Peter’s needs changed with adulthood approaching, Pat’s vision developed and she realised there was a need for adult services for autistic people.
Today, almost 50 years on, Autism Initiatives Group supports thousands of autistic people across the UK and Ireland to participate, engage and thrive in the world around them.
Liz added: “What we want to create is an environment whereby every person with autism can thrive and reach their goals and to do that we need the public to come together to empower them but also contribute towards a new attitude of acceptance and understanding.
“The centre of our ethos at Autism Initiatives Group is that everyone we support is someone’s relative whether that’s a daughter or an uncle and that’s the approach that we take when it comes to caring for people. We have a specific way of working with those with autism that is person-centred, supporting them to have their own plan that is as unique as they are.”
Once signed up, the fundraising team known as ‘Walking Buddies’ are available on email to offer round the clock support. Registrants can also access a Facebook group to meet others supporting the initiative.
Sign up is available from January 15until midday on March 21 with those stepping up to the challenge walking from March 26 up until World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, 2020.
To find out more about Walk for Autism or to sign up visit www.walkforautism.co.uk