Charity Autism Initiatives Group is marking World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) having raised over £500,000 for autistic people and their families.
Its annual Walk for Autism campaign started on March 26, with over 4,000 walkers taking part, taking on a combined total of 328million steps over eight days.
The fundraising team behind the campaign are still welcoming any donations beyond the challenge and hope to change lives one step at a time with the proceeds.
Head of Enterprise at Autism Initiatives Jon Gordon said:
“World Autism Awareness Day is about educating individuals and organisations about autism, and what that diagnosis means for people and for their families. As a charity, we’ve been operating for almost 50 years now and every single day we support autistic people to achieve their goals – what World Autism Awareness Day does in addition to that is gives us a much bigger platform to talk about the work that we do.
“This year, World Autism Awareness Day feels especially poignant to us and it also marks the end of our fourth Walk for Autism campaign. Every year, we call on walkers to take part in the challenge that sees them take on 10,000 steps a day for eight days. We are absolutely delighted to have exceeded our target with an outstanding amount of more than £500,000 raised to help our projects across the UK and Ireland. This sum is significantly more than what we achieved in 2020 and means so much to us, especially after a year that has been a real struggle for not only charities in terms of restrictions on face-to-face fundraisers, but for the people that we support. Changes in the way we live due to Covid-19 are especially hard for people with autism and this money can be truly lifechanging for them.”
Some of the money raised by Walk for Autism 2021 will contribute to projects by Autism Initiatives across Merseyside including the likes of Peterhouse School, a specialist school for young people with a diagnosis of autism, and social enterprises which provide employment skills and training for young people as well as important services for the local community, for example, WeGrow, which delivered fruit, veg and grocery parcels throughout the course of lockdown.
Autism Initiatives provide a range of tailored support packages that have been adapted to comply with government guidelines during this time. Funds from Walk for Autism will enhance these provisions and develop opportunities going forward.
Fundraising Manager at Autism Initiatives Liz Oakley added:
“Since autism can vary greatly and can impact people in vastly different ways, we have to offer our services on a tailored basis. That does often require more time and resource, which is why this money is so crucial to us as a charity. We are overwhelmed by the support that we’ve received this year and we’re delighted to reach this year’s World Autism Awareness Day armed with the resources to make a positive difference for people over the next 12 months. This sum of money has surpassed our targets and presents so many new possibilities for those using our services.
“We have a large number of innovative services available to individuals and families across the UK and Ireland with support in place for children in education, young people and adults. We can’t thank people enough for taking part. World Autism Awareness Day is important to us as it shines a global spotlight on autism, something that affects around 1% of the world’s population. It is still very misunderstood and the work that we do on a daily basis aims to break down those barriers and give people an opportunity to live their lives to the full.”
For more information about Autism Initiatives visit www.autisminitiatives.org/
For more information about Walk for Autism visit www.walkforautism.co.uk