“Today almost everyone has heard of autism. But far too few people understand what it’s actually like to be autistic – both the strengths you can have and how hard life can be at times. No-one should feel judged for being autistic and we need society to change. Autistic children, adults, and their families just want to be understood, supported and accepted in their communities, schools and workplaces.” (www.autism.org.uk)
To celebrate the 60th birthday of The National Autistic Society, Community Rail Lancashire got involved with World Autism Acceptance Week 2022. Through the power of cake, a smile and a chat we let the people of Todmorden know about our recent series of films that we hope will help rail passengers feel more confident when travelling on the Autism Friendly Line. Everyone was very friendly and interested to hear about the films with many people taking a flyer which will help us spread this news further. Here’s an example of one of our films: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Y1RDg70hWc
We couldn’t have done this without the help of the wonderful Stations of Welcome group who were formed after the pandemic, in Accrington, to help support positive mental health and wellbeing. The group consists of women who would like to do something positive for their own wellbeing as well as that of others. It has become a support group of sorts and welcomes people to Accrington station to have a chat and take a trip on the train for walks and talks! Stations of Welcome have helped CRL as volunteers with World Hijab Day and taken part in community cohesion projects such as East Meets West. They were very keen to help with Autism Acceptance Week by baking cakes and distributing them whilst on a walk along the Autism Friendly Line in Todmorden. It was a great experience for the group as many of them had suffered from anxiety and a lack of confidence when speaking to people. It was wonderful to see the group engaging with various people with confidence.
‘’I have really enjoyed the day. I didn’t think I would be able to speak to people about Autism and the work that CRL have done but once I got talking I couldn’t stop!’’
‘’It feels good to get out on the train but it feels better when you know you’re doing something positive like this.’’
And a lady who wished to remain anonymous sent this by email: