Set up by Adam Howell in October 2019, The A World UK CIC helps autistic people and their family/carers, and raises awareness of autism within the wider community, by promoting acceptance and inclusion.
Based in Salford, but with stores across the North West, including Preston, The A World says it is continuously expanding and developing its services, activities, and community shops to support even more areas, with its holiday provision being one of these.
Explaining the motivations behind the organisation and their latest holiday scheme, Adam, 30, said: “I set up The A World because I have family members in both my close and extended family that are a part of the autistic community, and it is clear to see that there is a lack of support and inclusion on a daily basis for them.
"We were originally going down the route of offering little activities and events, like before the pandemic we were doing football sessions and parties, but when we went into lockdown, obviously all the groups couldn't happen so we started to do one of the other things we always wanted to do, but didn't think we could afford, which was holidays.
"Caravans are perfect because you have your own space, and having time away is always amazing but it’s the cost of it. From personal experience I understand how difficult it can be for autistic people and families with autistic children to fund a holiday due to not being able to work, so we want to be able to offer people that chance to go away who couldn’t normally.
"Holidays can provide multiple benefits for everyone especially mental health wise, a few days away gives families a break from the day to day stress of life, allows them to make memories and allows everyone to recuperate."
Last year, The A World gave 65 holidays away, and this year it has expanded to 210- the majority of which will be using the two caravans that The A World own.
Adam added: "Although we're based in Salford, and have branched out to Preston and Burnley, we didn't want to do anywhere that was really far away because a lot of autistic children struggle in the car, so Blackpool is brilliant, and the place we go to usually charges guests for play passes to be able to go swimming but I've been able to negotiate with them and they've given us the passes for free, which is amazing."
The holiday scheme is open to not only families, but adults as well, and to be eligible you just have to meet the following criteria:
• You have an autism diagnosis/are you the parent or carer of a child whom has an autism diagnosis.
• You live in one of the following boroughs: Salford, Bury, Wigan, Rochdale, Tameside, Stockport, Burnley, Preston, Keighley.
• You have a lead guest who is 21+.
If you are eligible, email [email protected] for a holiday application form.
Aside from free holidays, The A World also offer therapeutic horse riding sessions all year around for people with autism, who can apply for up to five funded sessions each.
To find out more about the organisation, you can also visit their Facebook page or pop down to their community retail store on Preston's Friargate, which is open Monday-Saturday -9:30-17:00 and Sunday 10:00-16:00.