The Autistic and Neurodivergent programme is focused on creating accessible social spaces for autistic and neurodivergent LGBTQ+ people. Some of these spaces will be unstructured in how people can socialise and meet others, whereas other spaces will be more structured to facilitate social engagement for people who may need additional support.
Our programme is guided by our Autistic and Neurodivergent Programme Advisory Group. The advisory panel will comprise community members with lived experience, who will ensure that our work always reflects the community's needs. If you would like to join our Advisory Group or volunteer with us in any other way, please check out our volunteering page.
We are working with our colleagues at the National Autistic Society (https://www.autism.org.uk/) to develop this programme, and GMCVO (https://www.gmcvo.org.uk) will be funding the programme as part of their Inclusion Grant to Support Deaf and Disabled People. This programme is currently funded until September 2023 and we are working hard to prove the need for this programme and find further funding so we can continue to delivery this service in the future.
Details on individual events will be posted near to each event on across our social media platforms and as many details will be shared on any in-person event that does not take places in our usual space.
Information on the space our in-person events take place in:
- You must buzz into the building via our intercom and let the person on the desk know you’re here for our programme (e.g., say “Hi, I’m here for the Autistic and Neurodivergent Programme event”).
- We are on the second floor and there is an elevator inside the entrance on the left side if you require it. Once on the second floor, someone will let you into the centre, likely the same person who buzzed you through the door.
- Once in the offices, you will need to sign in and either the Autistic and Neurodivergent Programme coordinator or a volunteer will help you with this if you need.
- The toilets - including an accessible toilet - and kitchen are right next to the area we tend to work in if you need the bathroom or a drink during the event.
- If you need assistance at any stage, please speak to a volunteer or the Autistic and Neurodivergent Programme coordinator and they will be happy to help you.
- Feel free to bring a person to support you (e.g., a carer) to access this space if you need to.
Sensory facts about our usual in-person space:
- Occasionally a train might pass outside our building due to the location. It is not very noticeable from where we are sitting and is over quickly, but it may be hearable.
- Due to being near the kitchen there may be a slight scent of tea, coffee, and toast if you sit near the kitchen however the wider space has very little smell and we do not use aerosols in our building.
- We hold events on Friday evening as it tends to be the quietest. If there is another large event on, we will let you know as soon as possible however there tend to only be very quiet appointments with the Sexual Health Team in the room over from ours and they have the door closed.
- There are blinds over the windows and our lights are dimmers so we can lower the lights if necessary.
- Our space is a stimming-friendly space, feel free to stim however you need, whenever you need.