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The East Midlands first Autism Friendly Festival was held in Derbyshire on 23 September, and it was a huge success. The event, which was held in order to raise awareness of autism and of local charity Autism East Midlands, who are celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year, was the idea of David Ryan, who Co-Founded outdoor corporate events company peaksGO.

Autism plays a huge part in David’s life as both of his sons have been diagnosed with autism. David understands the challenges Autism can bring and how hard it can be for families to cope. He was inspired to raise awareness and help those in a similar position and has now created a festival, that raises awareness of autism and of local charity Autism East Midlands, whilst providing a fun atmosphere that has an environment catered to the various needs of those on the Spectrum.

“I am overwhelmed by the support and positivity that came from running this event. So many smiling faces from parents, children and adults alike, from all walks of life. If only every day out could be like this for people on the spectrum.” David Ryan, Co-Founder of PeaksGo and Spectrum Festival founder.

There was an abundance of activities on offer for all the family to enjoy at Spectrum Festival that included: outdoor activities such as rock climbing and a zip wire as well as a silent disco, live music, arts and crafts, information stands, bouncy castles and informative workshops. Activity stalls were set up by a wide range of event partners as well including HCB Solicitors, Derby College and Derby Quad.

The event was attended by hundreds of families as well as individuals who access care through a wide range of service providers. Autism East Midlands own adult services attended the event and embraced the wide variety of activities that were on offer.

“We enjoyed the selection of live music acts, and the bugs and bones gave us a chance to get close to exotic nature. Kaga had a fantastic opportunity to try the rock climbing wall. A great day was had and we can’t wait for the next festival!” Sophie Jones, Adult Day Service Manager at Autism East Midlands.

Autism East Midlands are extremely grateful for the support shown to them by peaksGO and everyone else who was involved in making Spectrum Festival a huge success. The awareness raised will go a long way to helping the charity to continue supporting families affected by autism across the East Midlands.