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Fort goes blue to highlight condition affecting one in 100 people

Fort goes blue to highlight condition affecting one in 100 people

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Fort goes blue to highlight condition affecting one in 100 people

Tuesday 29 March 2022


Fort Regent will be turning blue this week to raise awareness of a condition around 1,100 islanders have which can affect how they communicate and interact with the world.

Yesterday marked the beginning of World Autism Awareness Week.

The aim of the week is to “help change attitudes and transform lives to create an inclusive society that works for autistic people."  

As part of the week, local charity Autism Jersey is highlighting its support services and will be holding a number of events and activities.

What is Autism?

One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.

Autism is a life-long condition which can lead to challenges with communication and social interaction, and processing information.

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Pictured: Posters about autism will be put up in local schools this week.

It is a spectrum condition which means it can affect people in different ways. Some people may experience repetitive behaviours or have particular sensitivities, such as to light, sound, taste or touch.

Common strengths of people with autism include an attention to detail, 

What support is available?

Recognised by the National Autistic Society, Auitism Jersey, which was founded by a group of parents in 2005, is the leading charity on the island devoted to assisting and supporting people with autism and their families.

The charity aims to empower and enable people on the spectrum to achieve their potential, and help others to understand the condition, embrace and celebrate it.

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Pictured: Autism Jersey are a team of dedicated and committed parents who established the group in 2005.

Its services include providing access to counselling, mentoring, family fun days out, coffee mornings, short break services and supported living.

It also offers an Adult Social Club, providing a welcoming environment for people to sit and chat or get involved in various activities.

These sessions help to reduce isolation, increase confidence and provide valuable social and life skills. The social club helps to create an inclusive society for autistic individuals.

The charity also runs an ‘Autism Boutique’ that sells clothes and accessories to raise money - regarded by many as the “beating heart” of the island’s autism community.

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Pictured: The Autism Jersey Boutique.

They not only raise vital funds, but they also offer a safe place for those on the spectrum and their families to talk. 

“The friendly staff and volunteers, welcome anyone who simply wants to have a cup of tea and chat – they listen, laugh, cry and share experiences with those who welcome having a safe, dedicated private space to be able to do so,” the charity explained.

What is happening this week?

To mark World Autism Awareness Week locally, there are a number of initiatives planned...

  • Fort Regent is being lit up blue for the entire week – a colour used to symbolise autism.

  • Autism Jersey will be in town, opposite Voisins, alongside partners JAAS, ASCIT, Jersey Youth Service and other volunteers from Monday to Saturday. They will be on hand to answer questions about provide leaflets on each partner service’s provision. There will also be a quiz, and a ‘sensory goggles’ experience for the public to get involved in.

  • Autism Jersey and community partners will be holding activities for autistic adults and children including at Jump Jersey, Merton Aquadome, and the Grand Hotel and Spa.

  • Community partner JT will be holding a cake sale in its retail shop on Queen Street on Saturday 2 April.

  • JT will be releasing a short video which will feature work of Autism Jersey alongside other fundraising activities the company has planned with their staff and the public. 

  • There will be presentations to tutors and students at Highlands College and numerous in-house corporate presentations by Autism Jersey

  • Packs about autism will also be distributed to schools via the ASCIT Team, and posters will also be put up around schools.

Into the future…

Following research undertaken last year with an expert panel led by Professor Richard Mils, the charity is looking to create an Autism Strategy.

“Autism Jersey are putting foundations in place with our Government partners, that will create a platform to engage key stakeholders at Ministerial level, across Government departments, professionals, local business community, parents, carers and autistic Individuals,” the charity said.

Plans are also underway to establish a centre for autism in Jersey. 

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Pictured: The plans for the refurbished Sans Souci site.

In 2020, Andium Homes signed an agreement with Autism Jersey to refurbish the dilapidated St. Saviour’s Road-based ‘Sans Souci’ into a flexible hub that will meet the needs of people diagnosed with autism and their families. 

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