Local MP Andrew Jones dropped in on the Harrogate and District Branch of the National Autistic Society’s open day on Saturday. The event, at the Wesley Centre in Harrogate, was part of World Autism Acceptance Week and a featured a range of support services and activity groups for autistic adults, children and their families.
The event came as the government launched a new review to look at boosting the job prospects of autistic people. This will give further weight to employment in the National strategy for autistic children, young people and adults. There are over 700,000 autistic people in the United Kingdom.
Andrew commented: “Meeting individuals with autism really helps increase awareness and understanding of the issues they face. We are fortunate in our area that the local National Autistic Society branch is a vibrant group offering lots of support.
“The new review into the job prospects of autistic people is as welcome as it is necessary. People with autism have some of the poorest employment rates of all groups with fewer than three in 10 in work. We must do more to close that gap.
“Events like this help break down those barriers to employment which affect autistic people.”
The Harrogate and District Branch receives no external funding and relies on donations and fundraising. It runs a youth club and a group specifically for girls and plans to launch an employment forum this year.