STAFF, supporters and those who access our services have all come together to make this year's Christmas campaign a huge success, following our Bake Off and Jolly Jumper Day events.

Over the past two weeks, the Society has hosted two day-long celebrations in a bid to raise funds to support our frontline services, but also to spread some festive spirit in the lead-up to Christmas - and we're proud to report that, so far, we have raised almost £1,200.

On Friday 3rd December, we held our first-ever Great Christmas Bake Off event and invited those who access our services, as well as staff, supporters and the wider public to get involved.

Students from Thornhill Park School, Mackenzie Thorpe Centre, Thornbeck College, adult day services and NEAS Central Services took part in the Bake Off and brought in a range of delicious homemade bakes, from brandy snaps and individual cheesecakes, to muffins and gooey chocolate brownies.

Fundraising Officer Jon Appleton said: "We've been overwhelmed by the support we've received for our Christmas campaign this year, particularly given the tough 18 months we've all had.

"Everyone's efforts have been incredible and the funds raised will go a long way in helping us to provide vital support and services to autistic individuals and their families across the North-east."

A number of external organisations also supported the events. Pupils from Hurworth School’s Autism Resource Base spent a morning baking and decorating cakes with teacher Helen Whitten, who manages the provision.

Newcastle's Life Science Centre, who have worked closely with the Society over the past three years, also got involved and raised more than £70 in the process.

As it stands, the Great Christmas Bake Off raised an impressive total of £586.27.

Our second event on Friday 10th December was our annual Jolly Jumper Day, which saw staff, supporters and the children, young people and adults we support donning their very best (or worst) festive knits for the occasion.

Pupils from our schools got involved with the festivities, as well as adults who access Number 24 Day Services, along with a range of individuals and organisations across the North-east. Chief Constable for Durham Constabulary Jo Farrell showed her support for the event in a striking pink knit, while County Durham and Darlington Fire & Rescue also took part.

Other organisations who pledged their support, and raised funds in the process, include: Darlington Building Society, Feel Flamazing in Low Fell, Hope Street XChange, Jarrow Cross Primary School and Avonmouth Church of England School in Bristol.

The total fundraising amount for Jolly Jumper Day currently stands at £370, with donations expected to continue rolling in over the weekend.

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