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Autism East Midlands Community and Individual Giving Fundraiser, Victoria Johnson gives us some background on the award winning Spectrum Festival and how 2019’s edition went. On the 21st September 2019 Spectrum Festival became a year old and the day was yet again full of fun, laughs and information for all the family.

The fourth Spectrum Festival was in full swing last weekend!

After a hugely successful first Spectrum Festival in September 2018, we were once again asked to the beneficiary charity of the festivals throughout 2019, with three events being held, two in June, one in September at the beautiful Lea Green Development Centre in Matlock.

David Ryan from peaksGO co-founded an outdoors corporate events company and was keen to raise awareness of autism in some capacity and therefore chose to raise awareness and funds for Autism East Midlands. Both of David’s young sons have been diagnosed with Autism, this is where his drive comes from. Having understood the challenges Autism can bring and how hard it can be for families to cope, he wanted to find a way to bring people together to educate and support anyone that needs it, to help people do what is best for their loved ones.

He wanted to do something on a large scale that is where we came up with the idea for a festival, to bring like minded people together, to educate people, support them and have some fun along the way.
So, in 2017 peaksGO approached us and Lea Green Development Centre with an idea to run an event which would help to raise awareness for Autism whilst helping to educate and support people that need it. The event’s aim was to be inclusive, and allow autistic individuals and those with additional needs have fun in an environment where they can truly be themselves, whilst providing parents and carers a space to relax and access support. All ages are welcome at Spectrum and you don’t need an official diagnosis to attend, or even be on the Spectrum.

After winning the award for ‘Best New Accessible Event’ for the first Spectrum Festival in September 2018 and due to the huge national demand for more than one Spectrum festival, we decided to work together to create three more festivals in 2019.

The 21st of September marked one year since the first festival. The day was filled with accessible activities including sensory games, information stalls and even a petting zoo!

Our very own band The Blizzards from the Sherwood Centre played a set of 80’s classics on the stage and we were able to speak to lots of families about what we do as a charity, as well as give them the chance to win some fantastic prizes to raise funds for us.

It was a great event all round, I would personally love to thank all the attendees and everyone that came over to have a chat, we hope you had a fantastic day and hope to see you again next year!