ICONIC landmarks across the North-east are lighting up gold this weekend in support of our annual Autism Acceptance campaign.

It’s all thanks to the pioneering work of the North East Autism Society and World Autism Acceptance Week, which culminates with World Autism Acceptance Day this Sunday (April 2nd). 

With a long list of local authorities and their landmarks poised to ‘go gold’, it looks set to be another record-breaking year.

John Phillipson, CEO at NEAS, said:

Now in its fifth year, our Autism Acceptance campaign continues to garner huge support across the region and it is so exciting to see more landmarks than ever lighting up gold in the name of autism acceptance this year.

Venues going gold to mark Autism Acceptance Day include:

  • Sunderland: Northern Spire Bridge, Penshaw Monument, Keel Square, Market Square, Seaburn Lighthouse, Fulwell Mill and Hylton Castle. (Lighting up between March 27 and April 2)
  • Newcastle: Newcastle Civic Centre and Tyne Bridge.
  • Gateshead: Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
  • Stockton: Stockton Town Centre fountains and lighting columns, Riverside and Newport Bridge
  • Darlington: Darlington Clock Tower.
  • North Tyneside: St Mary’s Lighthouse and Killingworth Block A

For the past five years, we have asked supporters to use the colour gold throughout Autism Acceptance Week, rather than blue which has traditionally been associated with autism. 

This change came as a result of direct feedback from the autistic community, as some organisations that focus on lighting up blue talk about deficits or curing autism. It was also at this time that NEAS moved away from campaigning for autism awareness, and began pushing for acceptance instead.

This year the charity has taken things one step further, with its Everyday Equality campaign, designed to highlight the experiences and inequalities faced by autistic and neurodivergent people in five areas of everyday life: education, health, travel, employment and finance.

“We can understand there are obstacles out there that make life challenging for autistic people, but it’s all too easy to do nothing to set about removing those obstacles,” John added. “Our Everyday Equality campaign is about closing that gap between ideas and action.

We need to stop and recognise what’s happening right in front of us. The person who is facing these obstacles might be the person in front of you in a queue, or using your shop, or accessing your service 

“Our campaign is being led by autistic and neurodivergent people who want us to hear about their experiences and take a minute to reflect. Unless we do, we will continue to miss the opportunity to reorganise things and improve access for everyone.”

Find out more about this year's campaign