Glasgow teenager raises more than £1K for autism charity

21 April 2019

Jack Sinclair with girlfriend Morna McKee.

A young man from Drumchapel has managed to raise more than £1,200 for the National Autistic Society.

Jack Sinclair, support worker at Buddies Clubs and Services, organised a group run in aid of the charity, which is the largest provider of specialist autism services in the UK.

The event took place during Autism Awareness week on 6 April 2019, and was part of the charity’s wider 7K for 700K campaign.

The 19-year-old said: “This is a charity close to my heart as I care for young people with autism and have members of my family who are diagnosed and know how little awareness there is of the condition.”

More than 40 people accepted his invitation to walk, jog or run in order to complete the circuit at Milngavie reservoir on Saturday morning.

Heather Galbraith, Sinclair’s colleague, completed the run in 40 minutes. She said: “I love a challenge, so when Jack asked if I wanted to take part in a sponsored run I jumped at the chance.

“Raising awareness of autism is something I feel very strongly about, having worked with so many wonderful people who have autism.”

Lewis Cameron, who also participated, said: “I took part in the run as I thought it was a great cause. I work with Jack as a support worker for children and young people with additional support needs.

He added: “Having a fair bit of experience in working with people with autism, I can see there are still so many people who have no idea how someone with an ASD can act or the difficulties they face.”

Sinclair’s initial target was £700, but this was quickly surpassed. At the time of writing, £812 had been donated through JustGiving, and the rest via other means.

Video: Taylor Robertson

In the UK, there are approximately 700,000 adults and children who have autism. Including their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.

According to the National Autistic Society: “Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.”

Only 16% of autistic adults are in full-time paid employment, and 17% of autistic children have been suspended from school, according to a library briefing released by the House of Lords on 2 April 2018.

Galbraith said: “I think autism is hugely misunderstood and comes with certain stereotypes. The National Autistic Society does a great job of addressing this and offering specialist services to people with autism all over the UK.”

The organisation supports more than 100,000 people with autism each year, be it in education, in the community, at work or at home.

Galbraith added: “It was great to raise money for them and just raise awareness of autism in general! Jack did a great job of organising the run and getting lots of people involved, which resulted in an amazing amount of money raised but even more importantly, it got lots of people talking about autism and what it really means. A double win!”

The government is currently reviewing its autism strategy, and the National Autistic Society would like to hear from “autistic people, their families, and professionals working in the field of autism, about their experiences/views on public understanding.”

Views should be emailed to policy@nas.org.uk by 28 April 2019.

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