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01 April 2019

Council supports National Autism Awareness Week

World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognised day taking place on 2 April every year. In the week surrounding this day, the public are encouraged to take part in World Autism Awareness Week - where people across the UK take part in activities to raise money and awareness for the National Autistic Society. This year’s Autism Awareness Week runs from 1 - 7 April.

Cumbria County Council supports people with autism in a number of ways. Several of the six local committees - made up of county councillors from each district - have nominated an Autism Champion. Their role is to promote autism awareness in their local communities, developing opportunities for training and information, and supporting local libraries to achieve autism friendly status.  They also help to inform and support the work of council officers from various council service areas, including Public Health, Children’s Services, Policy and Commissioning.

A number of libraries across Cumbria, including Millom and Whitehaven are now recognised by the National Autistic Society as being autism friendly, with several more working towards achieving this recognition, (including Carlisle, Allerdale, Barrow and Penrith). Autism friendly libraries provide a welcoming, safe and stimulating environment for autistic people of all ages, with a range of facilities and resources, including a sensory area and access to regular weekly sessions. This helps to develop the confidence, skills and opportunities for people with autism, and offers a chance for autistic people to spend time together with their friends and families in an informal social setting.

The National Autistic Society website has lots of information and resources available and ideas for fundraising (including cake sales and quizzes) - for more information and guidance, visit www.autism.org.uk 

There are events and workshops to celebrate National Autism Awareness Week taking place in libraries across Cumbria - for more information, please contact your local library or visit www.cumbria.gov.uk/libraries

Cllr Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Local Communities, said:

“I am delighted the council is supporting National Autism Awareness Week.  Councillors and officers have worked alongside members of the local business community, parents, carers and people on the autistic spectrum to develop autism friendly communities all over the county, allowing people living with autism and their families to access and enjoy services and facilities that we all take for granted.”

Cllr Christine Bowditch, Vice Chair of Cumbria County Council and Autism Friendly Champion for Carlisle, said:

“I am passionate about raising awareness of the challenges facing autistic people across Cumbria. I really enjoy the autism awareness training at Carlisle Library, and I’m looking forward to extending this to the city centre, the Lanes and the Carlisle Youth Zone. I am pleased that many of our libraries are achieving or working towards autism-friendly status. It makes a huge difference to people living with autism and their families, and I’d urge everyone to do what they can during Autism Awareness Week to raise money for the National Autistic Society.”

Council supports National Autism Awareness Week