As the 2014 Autism Awareness Month gets underway, it is an opportunity to review the positive impact that Autism Guernsey has had on the lives of those in Guernsey who are affected by the developmental disorder.
In conjunction with the National Autistic Society Guernsey, Autism Guernsey has in the past year implemented a number of initiatives in the island, Nick Bachmann of Autism Guernsey explained:
“We have come a long way in the last 18-months and now run a number of programmes which provide practical and meaningful support to families affected by autism. Our befriending scheme provides regular social opportunities for individuals through our trained befriending coordinator and pool of volunteer befrienders; an independent living scheme supporting individuals to help them to live independently; and an outreach service providing individualised support to children, teenagers, adults and their families. We are working hard to arrange a number of fundraising events during April, and throughout the year, which will support our programmes going forward, although for us building awareness within the community is essential in supporting those with autism in the Bailiwick.”
For the third consecutive year, JT is joining together with in the Channel Islands as part of its commitment to support autism for three years. Since 2012, JT’s staff helped to fulfil JT’s pledge by volunteering their time and have actively fundraised to support local autism charities and in doing so have far exceeded their three year fundraising target of £50,000.
Tamara O’Brien, Deputy MD for JT (Guernsey), said: “JT is committed to the community and to communication excellence, and by collaborating with autism charities across the Channel Islands we have been able to bring these commitments together. Through engaging our 400 plus staff in our support programme we have had some very successful mutually beneficial outcomes, including JT making a fantastic financial contribution to the charities which work tirelessly to support local individuals and families affected by autism.
“By aligning our efforts with those of Autism Guernsey and the NAS (Guernsey branch) specifically, we have ensured that our contribution to date has been meaningful and we will continue to work closely with them for the remainder of 2014 to make sure this continues. Furthermore, I am sure that the relationships forged between our staff and the charities will continue naturally beyond our three year formal commitment.”
As well as organising fundraising events, in an effort to educate its staff to recognise and understand the behaviours of those on the autistic spectrum, JT has provided autism training for staff members.
Mr Bachmann of Autism Guernsey added: “JT has shown an overwhelming commitment to supporting us in Guernsey to help those on the autism spectrum and their families to deal with the day to day challenges they face. We are very grateful for their support which means so much to us and we are also in a position through our partnership with JT to move forward with certain projects thanks to the additional funds they have raised on our behalf. As we approach year two of the charity we are working on a number of initiatives that will improve our service for people and with JT’s backing we are confident that it will be a very successful year.”
As well as organising its Global Charity Day in July, JT continue to support Autism Guernsey in the following activities:
- Saturday 12th April – L’Eree beach clean at 10:30am – AG in conjunction with BNP Paribas and Nurture Ecology – Bring the family along, sturdy shoes, washing gloves, bins sacks, warm clothes and let’s keep our beaches clean for the summer
- Wednesday 16th April – NAS have organised for Alex Lowery to come to Guernsey, a young man with autism who is a skilled professional speaker. His website, www.alexlowery.com contains lots of interesting information about him as well as an absolutely fantastic blog.
- (Good) Friday 18th April – Easter Egg Hunt – Join the AG and NAS at their family Easter Egg hunt at either 12-2pm or 2.30-4.30pm at Styx Centre. Refreshments, bouncy castle, Easter egg hunt, and more!