Does any city have a bigger heart than Liverpool? In the year since we launched our Liverpool Autism Champions scheme, we’ve been touched by the kindness and positivity of organisations large and small. Our ambition to make Liverpool a leading autism-friendly city has not dimmed, not one bit.
To show you how far we’ve come, we asked Mikey Pinder to visit the city and report on progress. We hope you enjoy his film.
A man with autism from Wirral is the star of a new short film set in Liverpool.
Mikey Pinder, 32, takes the leading role in Mikey’s day out in autism-friendly Liverpool, a short documentary in which he visits some of the city’s many Autism Champions.
The Liverpool Autism Champions scheme was launched a year ago by charity Autism Together and social enterprise Autism Adventures UK. Campaigners set out to make Liverpool one of the UK’s leading autism-friendly cities.
In the film, Mikey visits Everton FC, Liverpool John Lennon airport, the Tate Liverpool and others to learn about the changes they’ve made to accommodate people on the autism spectrum. He calls for more people in the city to have autism awareness training and stresses that many people with autism get apprehensive when visiting cities.
Mikey first found fame in 2016 after featuring in a film about his love of wake boarding at Liverpool’s waterfront wake park.
In the twelve months since launching their ambition for Liverpool, campaigners have trained more than 600 people across the city in autism awareness, teaching them how to spot if someone may have the condition and how to support them if they appear anxious or distressed. Many have made small changes to their venues, such as allocating a quiet room for use if someone needs time out or developing clearer signage.
Thirteen organisations have now joined the scheme including Mersey Fire and Rescue Service, Liverpool One shopping centre, Costa Coffee and National Museums Liverpool.
Chief executive of Autism Together, Robin Bush, said, “Mikey is a fantastic role model. He’s an independent young man with autism, very used to travelling around Merseyside on his own. We hope others on the spectrum and their families will view this film and feel proud of him and of Liverpool and its achievements. Our work in the city has a long way to go, but a year on from the launch of our project we’re as ambitious as ever and are making big strides in the right direction. None of this would be possible without the support of the people of Liverpool, which is proving to be a city with a very big heart.”
Autism Together and Autism Adventures say action is needed in Liverpool as such a significant number of people are on the autism spectrum – one in every hundred or around 700,000 nationally – and many are excluded from their own communities through lack of understanding and support.