Hundreds of walkers descend on Sunderland Park in the name of autism acceptance

AROUND 400 walkers gathered at a park in the North East today to celebrate the return of a popular event organized by an autism charity.

The annual Walk for Acceptance, organized by the North East Autism Society (NEAS), has had to be held virtually for the past two years due to Covid-19.

However, it returned to Herrington Country Park, Sunderland, this morning and was a huge success, marking the highlight of the charity’s month-long calendar of events to celebrate Acceptance Month autism.

“The march is always our biggest event of the year, both in terms of fundraising and raising awareness, so it was amazing to see so many people coming together again after three years away,” said said NEAS fundraising manager Kevin Meikle.

“As a charity, we campaign passionately all year round for greater understanding, awareness and acceptance of autism, and it’s great to see so many local people getting involved and helping us advocate. this message.”

The North East Autism Society, based in Chester-le-Street, was founded by a group of parents in Sunderland in 1980 and has held its annual Walk for Acceptance, formerly the Walk for Autism, for over a decade .

The sponsored walk, which raises money for NEAS frontline services, was officially opened at 11 a.m. by ITV legend Pam Royle, who was recently unveiled as one of the charity’s patrons , and NEAS CEO John Phillipson.

“It has been a huge honor to become a patron of such a wonderful charity, and I am thrilled that my first official task was to start the Walk for Acceptance,” said Pam, who served as the face of the Northeast television for nearly 40 years. years.

Mr Phillipson added: “Everything we do at the North East Autism Society is aimed at improving the lives of people with autism and their families, and we know that one of the ways to do this is to improve understanding of society – and of course, acceptance – of autism and neurodiversity.

“That’s why today’s event is so important, not only does it help spread our message of autism acceptance in the region, but it shows how much we can all accomplish if we come together. from a place of understanding and simply embrace the things that make us all different and unique.

Today’s walk is just one of many events the charity has organized this month, as well as working with schools, businesses and individuals across the region to provide education , advice and support around autism and neurodiversity.

Other key events include the official opening of the charity’s Teesside school, the Mackenzie Thorpe Centre, in Middlesbrough on April 1. While key landmarks across the North East also lit up gold during Autism Acceptance Week (March 28 – April 2) in support of NEAS.

Following today’s walk, the charity is hosting one last event to close out the month, as NEAS will host its second virtual Acceptance Matters conference on Thursday, April 28.

The conference includes a panel of autistic speakers who will share their lived experience, knowledge and professional expertise on topics such as: masking, neurodiversity and cults, autism and aging.

For more information about the conference or to register, go to:

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