First of all, can I say that I am honoured to have been asked to do this for this charity, which has supported me so much with my charity campaigns, and I hope I can continue to support your fantastic work.

 

I am Rich from Milton Keynes, I am a husband and father and I am on the autism spectrum. This has been only a recent diagnosis, coming in adult life after a few years of thinking that this could be the case. I have two sons and my youngest son is also on the autism spectrum and I started to think about how he can be understood and how he can understand the world better.

In September 2020, I began a podcast called Inside the Orange, where I talked about the importance of understanding other people. As the podcast developed, I spoke to people from different backgrounds and they told their story in the hope of inspiring others. I was fortunate enough to meet Anna Kennedy, who had a petition about who would look after her children when she was no longer around, and I asked if she would talk about it on the podcast. We spoke about her charity and what it does and I wanted to help support it!

Alongside the podcast, we started our Walk for Autism challenge walks, which are now in their 3rd year. These included walking 81+ miles in one weekend for AnnaKennedyOnline. We continue to do this for the charity, and our current target is 365 miles in 12 walks by the end of 2023.

I want to continue to support AnnaKennedyOnline and help raise awareness, acceptance and support inclusion of autism in work and schools.

 

What could I bring to the role?

 

I want to help change the lives of autistic people and their families. I have always wanted autism to be understood better and I want to help people, schools and businesses to and be able to promote inclusion. I will continue to raise money for the charity, talking about it at every opportunity and supporting autistic people in my community and beyond by role modeling that we can achieve what we want to. I can share the messages through the podcast, social media and support community events. I have also disclosed my diagnosis to my employer, Lifetime Training, who are actively supporting me with fundraising and supporting autistic people around our business. The best thing I can bring to the role is a passion to help people understand autism and help people with autism understand the world.

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