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Looking back to move forward - A Journey of Autism

Awesometistic is awarded a grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to implement / create / restore / conserve / digitise / transform Autism.

Looking back to move forward – A Autism Journey

Today, Awesometistic has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of for an exciting heritage project, Looking back to move forward - A Journey of Autism, in northeast. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on lived experience of autism over the last 25 years and its impact on the identity of those that are autistic in the North East.

Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will want to focus on is the heritage of individual and community experiences of living and overcoming constraints of autism.  Giving people with autism (lived experience) the opportunity to tell their stories is the best way to break down barriers, reduce discrimination and engage people with heritage activities. People who face discrimination because of a disability, their race or gender experience both an individual lived experience and also a collective group experience shared by others. This has meaning and connection to others. Richie smith said ‘We want to capture this shared sense of experience, as it belongs to our community and is shared heritage”. We need to take up opportunities from inside out community when they exist because people outside our community do not give us opportunities to grow, develop and promote positive images of ourselves. We want to focus on

  • Individual experiences

  • Memories of both positive and negative experiences

  • Changing attitude and opportunities for people with autism

  • The experiences of people across difference generations

  • Hopes for the future

  • Role models who inspire change


The project will be developed and lead by people with autism. We will document and collect the memories and experience of people with autism to celebrate, understand and share experience of autism over different generations.   We want to celebrate change and progress by empowering people with autism to document their perspectives on their lived experience. 

  • We will form learning groups

  • Hold heritage workshops

  • Publish oral and written narratives

  • Create a heritage story board

  • Train volunteers to capture and document heritage


Heritage Themes

  1. Education – young people and schools. Collecting experiences and sharing knowledge with young people. 

  2. Employment - collective and documenting people’s lives with autism who work, their experiences, challenges and changes in the workplace

  3. Society – everyday experiences of living with autism, people’s reactions, discrimination, dating, recreation

  4. Aging – Experiences of older, changes around them, hopes and fears.

Covid – the impact of Covid on people with Autism


What difference will your project make?

This project will have a significant positive impact on our membership and the wider community. The biggest impact will be on people within the autistic community as it will create a sense of pride and accomplishment for those directly involved. It will also have a wider impact on people from outside our community by breaking down stigma and showing our experiences in a positive light.

Commenting on the award, Richard smith said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will support young people to be active pride in them self and share a better understanding of autism.”


About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.


Follow @HeritageFundUK on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund  

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.


Further information

For further information, images and interviews please contact @Awesometistic 

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