News #MyKINDofChristmas - Day 12 Half way! Can you believe it? Day 12 and we are focusing today on how our fundraising efforts have been going. This year, any funds raised through the Christmas Campaign will be supporting our drive to launch new youth groups across the region. Kerrie Highcock, Family Development Manager, said: When we talk about youth groups for autistic teens it’s easy to imagine a room with Lego, and the adults sitting around having coffee. While there’s a place for that what we started last year was a way for teenagers to come together, to develop friendships, and to have their voices heard. What began as a safe environment where they could use art to share their opinions became so much more. And we are convinced such groups are incredibly valuable for our teenagers. Often, very little is expected of autistic children and young people. We flipped that on its head and allowed them free reign to tell us what they wanted to project. What emerged was a group of empowered young people who call themselves the Autism Activists, and we have learned so much from them, not to mention how much their confidence has grown. Look back to Day 10 to hear from Ed, one of the young people involved in one such group, and from his mum, Emma, who believes being in that environment has been life changing for her son. Which is exactly why we believe our region needs more youth groups specifically designed with autistic young people in mind. And, as we approach the half way through the campaign we are thrilled to tell you that we are more than half way to reaching our £2,500 target. Thanks to your generosity we have raised more than £1000 so far! But it’s not too late to join in. Ahead of tomorrow’s Christmas Jumper day across the country you can: Still purchase our festive t-shirts and hats: www.ne-as.org.uk/pages/shop/department/festive-merchandise Stick on a Christmas sweater and split your support to include us: Organise a fundraiser in your home or workplace Or just make a donation! www.justgiving.com/campaign/mykindofchristmas Every penny donated will go to launching and maintaining our 2020 youth programmes. To get us there we would like to thank everyone who has taken part so far. To all those who have purchased t-shirts, hats and festive products, to Stephen Henson, from Consett, a dad-of- three autistic kids, donated £50 to us instead of sending Christmas cards this year; To the volunteers from insurance firm Jelf, helped customers pack their groceries at Morrisons in Birtley and eight members of staff from Northumbrian Water also did the same at Morrison’s in Doxford Park. To everyone who took part in Jolly Jumper Day we had our very own Jolly Jumper Day and to all of you who have donated in other ways… THANK YOU!!!