Introducing Matty Street – our new Ambassador

Introducing Matty Street – our new Ambassador

Matty first met with Anna Kennedy OBE at the Autism Hero Awards in 2017 after winning the Autism Friendly category and after sharing visions, it was clear that Matty was the right role model as an Anna Kennedy Online Ambassador, sharing similar values and joining us to help raise Autism Awareness.

At Autism’s Got Talent 2018, it was officially announced, please read Matty’s inspirational story and journey:

My name is Matty Street and I am the 21 year old CEO of TeamKarting.co.uk We are the UK highest rated indoor karting track and a company with a very strong social heart beat! I have a huge passion for motorsport and have competed from the age of 12. Motorsport can be a very expensive sport where talented drivers don’t always make it to the top without enough financial backing and support. I’m from a working class family so at the age of 14 when I won a £30k scholarship to go racing this opened doors for me which I never thought were possible.

At the beginning of my school career I was diagnosed with dyslexia / dyspraxia and Asperger’s and I found school very difficult and at one point was considered a lost cause, I was very unsociable in my early teenage years and was predicted very poor grades and expected to achieve nothing. Being autistic I was told I would not be good at speaking in public or communicating with others, even though now I travel up and down the county speaking at Autism Events promoting good practice and inspiring young people, regularly speaking in front of 100s of people. There have been a number of things I was told that I won’t be able to do or should even try doing.

My love for motorsport helped me to deal with all these labels and negative expectations and achieve academic success and now success in business. When I first sat my GCSE’s I failed everything, this was just before I started my karting/racing career.  Second time round with my new found passion and drive for racing I turned my grades around. My love for motorsport in school was noticed so teachers began to relate my work motorsport which helped understand and retain the information that was being offered.

This minor tweak in the way I was taught totally turned my life around. I managed to pass all my GCSE’s with 8 A*-C grades. I then went to college and completed a Level 3 Motorsport Engineering course. Much to everyone surprise I aced the course and went on to university where I studied Motorsport Management & Logistics. So from a potential school drop out to Degree student in 4 years!

During my time at college and university I continued to work with my passion. In 2015 I starting work at TeamKarting.co.uk as a part time track marshal. Within 10 months I worked my way up to Duty Manager and was promoted to the Executive Manager at the age of 19 and over saw the running of the full company and had 20 staff working under me.

In 2016 I had the ambition of setting up my own business within the motor sport industry to help increases grass roots participation in motorsport and make it more inclusive for people with autism and other additional needs. With the old owners of TeamKarting struggling to make the business work, I set my sites on stepping in with fresh ideas and a passionate team of directors to help grow the business. In 2017 that came true when I raised enough investment to complete a management buyout of TeamKarting to make myself the CEO of the company I love and worked within for the past 3 years, at the young age of just 21!

The reason I am telling you all of this is because during my time at TeamKarting iv worked very hard to create opportunities for people, to try and give people similar opportunities to what I had which help turn my life around. I have a strong desire to help children with disabilities and other social projects including most recently girls In Motorsport, a project which was backed by the royal family, and lead me to meet Prince Harry back in 2016. We also hosted a Racing With Autism Day and invited 40-50 school students to the track to learn how to kart free of charge for a full day and meet an autistic karting world champion. From this we were able to put like minded people together and helped build new friendships. We also support one of Rochdale most talented young racers Sandro: Click here for details.

I strongly believe that we have a responsibility to reinvest back into the grass roots of motorsport and make it more inclusive and open to all irrespective of physical, mental, academic and cultural background. That is why we offer a number of bespoke session to meet a number of needs. I have made it TeamKarting’s mission to increase participation in grassroots motorsports by innovating low cost solutions to make motor sport more affordable and accessible.

With this tweak in TeamKarting business Plan in a very short space of time we have become the UK’s highest rated karting track (as rated on Facebook, Google & Trip Advisor) We also won an award for being Autism Friendly and were presented with this achievement  at the Autism Hero Awards 2017, which is how I first met Anna Kennedy and the team at Anna Kennedy Online.

From speaking to her and the team discussing me, my background and what we are trying to achieve at TeamKarting.co.uk, Anna asked me to come on board as an Ambassador to help raise autism awareness. We are also planning to host a number of event at our track in Greater Manchester along with the charity with the aim at getting more people into motorsport who ordinarily wouldn’t be given the opportunity.

We’ve had great success in what we’ve done so far and we have huge plans for the future, I am really excited to be joining AKO team as an ambassador and cant wait to get stuck in.

Autism’s Got Talent performers leave audience in tears

Autism’s Got Talent performers leave audience in tears

MEMBERS of the public which included #UKCharityWeek founder Lee Rayment and a host of special guests were treated to a series of emotionally charged performances by people on the autistic spectrum at a show in Central London at the weekend.

The performers consisted of singers, actors, musicians and dance troupes, all proudly flying the flag for autism and showed what people with autism are capable of doing.

Dozens of performers took to the stage, and audience members were left in floods of tears after being amazed at what people with autism can do. One parent in the audience said: ‘To have a platform like this when the world is telling you your kid can’t do this and can’t do that is just incredible. People with autism are amazing and assets in our society.’

Anna Kennedy OBE and #UKCharityWeek founder Lee Rayment smile for the cameras

#UKCharityWeek founder Lee Rayment attended the event with his family said: “I knew having covered the event remotely in previous years that we were in for a treat, but to see it firsthand and how it left the audience and my family in awe was very inspiring.

“I am convinced that the show is only going to go from strength-to-strength in future years, and we shall certainly be doing our bit to ensure that happens, well done to all involved!”

Strictly star Robin Windsor and #UKCharityWeek founder Lee Rayment

Speaking to Charity Today, Anna said: “I don’t know how but the show gets better every year. The effect it has on the performers, their families and the audience is mind-blowing. You have to watch the show to experience what I am talking about. I’m so proud that I didn’t want it to end.”

Also in attendance were Kacey Ainsworth (Eastenders’ ‘Little Mo’), Robin Windsor from Strictly Come Dancing and model Danielle Lloyd.

1 in 100 people in the UK are affected by autism in one way or another. Whether they are diagnosed with it themselves or whether a friend or a family member has the condition, autism touches the daily lives of many across the country.

The condition can be challenging to understand, and many look upon diagnosis as a stressful and upsetting time. Anna Kennedy Online is hoping to change the perception of autism to show just how talented and skilled autistic people are.

The charity, based in Uxbridge, was founded by Anna Kennedy OBE. When her two sons were diagnosed with autism Anna found it hard to get the right support for them. She knocked on the doors of dozens of schools, and her sons were turned away. After fighting so hard, she decided to take matters into her own hands and started her own school in 1999, Hillingdon Manor, which is now the largest provision of specialist education in Europe.

Source: https://www.charitytoday.co.uk/autisms-got-talent-performers-leave-audience-in-tears/

BBC Oxford covered Autism’s Got Talent !

BBC Oxford covered Autism’s Got Talent !

BBC Oxford covered Autism’s Got Talent 

“You may have seen a video we released about Eddie and his support dog Harmony. He’s autistic and has performed at Autism’s Got Talent. We followed Eddie to London to see how he got on…”

Check out the video!

For more highlights of Autism’s Got Talent click here

First Relaxed Performance at Towngate Theatre

First Relaxed Performance at Towngate Theatre

On Wednesday 19th December – the first relaxed performance of Aladdin took place at Towngate Theatre Basildon and was a huge success.

Earlier this year in October, UK Autism Charity Anna Kennedy Online hosted the legendary show Autism’s Got Talent together with the Avery family, who are the Charity Champions of Essex.

Together with founder Anna Kennedy OBE and the Avery family have been working with the Theatre to work together to ensure that reasonable adjustments were made.

Anna explained:

“Many aspects of a standard theatre experience can cause difficulties for autistic people. Busy foyers, unexpected music, lights going up and down, pyrotechnics and applause can all be unsettling for some children and adults.

Even the interval can confuse individuals on the spectrum because it seems strange to leave the auditorium in the middle of an event. During a relaxed performance, the house lights will often stay on during the show and families will be warned when to expect loud noises. For anyone overwhelmed during the performance, a “chill out” area will be provided.

In a number of the venues across the country, the show can be followed via speakers or a screen so that the audience is not disoriented by a disjointed story upon re-entering the auditorium. There are also pre-show walks around the theatre and a couple of the performers will introduce themselves on stage so individuals become familiar with the characters.

Aston Every Autism Ambassador for the charity, the Mayor of Basildon and Anna spoke to a couple of the performers behind stage after the show to thank them for giving families such a wonderful time. Performers shared ‘ It was a special experience for them since the house lights being on they could see the children’s expression and excitement.

Two performers Simon Fielding and Sophie Ladds were outstanding and the theatre have indicated that the relaxed performance will happen again next year.

Anna Kennedy OBE would like to thank the theatre for giving the audience free tickets and for making this event so special .

Anna Kennedy OBE
Director

Kilmarnock Horse Rescue host Autism Friendly Christmas Afternoon

Kilmarnock Horse Rescue host Autism Friendly Christmas Afternoon

Kilmarnock Horse resuce charity in Ifield is asking for donations to help them through a difficult winter.

Kilmarnock Horse Rescue cares for neglected and abandoned horses ponies and donkeys.

They also arrange visits to a local mental health hospital, as a form of therapy for the patients, and hold family visiting days with Autism Support Crawley.

 

Patron of both Kilmarnock and Autism Support Crawley Anna Kennedy OBE  appealed to the generosity of the public.

“With Kilmarnock bursting at the seams, winter has been really tough for them,” she said.

“Hay, feed ,bedding and vet bills have resulted to more than they anticipated and they now requesting support for donations to the charity.

“In what we understand is a tough month for everyone, Kilmarnock and I as Patron are asking – if you’re able to help in any way you can then please do.

Anna Kennedy OBE has been Patron to both groups for over 3 years and are in their third year of hosting an Autism Friendly Christmas Afternoon with the Father Christmas. Tesco Crawley kindly donated selection boxes and Christmas snacks for all the families attending.

Anna Kennedy OBE and Maria Cook Chairperson of Autism.Support Crawley both share ‘It’s always such a wonderful afternoon and watching the children with the horses and ponies is always so magical.We are greatful to Kilmarnock for hosting this annual event’

If you would like to donate to Kilmarnock Horse Rescue Ifield please see their charity website.

Source: https://london-post.co.uk/kilmarnock-horse-rescue-host-autism-friendly-christmas-afternoon/

Anna Kennedy OBE to make the most of her Christmas Day

Anna Kennedy OBE to make the most of her Christmas Day

On Christmas Day Anna Kennedy OBE will be appearing on her regular slot talking all things autism on SKY Tv’s Chrissy B show at 10pm.

Anna’s guests will be Charity Champion Mala Thapar talking about her role as a champion and her experience of the cultural pressure of having a son diagnosed on the Autism spectrum .

Anna’s second guest is Marie Gorton who was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome age 5 and will be performing ‘Silent Night’ and Anna shares ‘She has a voice of an angel.’

Marie’s first love is music, both listening and performing, especially classical and musical theatre.  This has been a passion since childhood.

Anna Kennedy OBE met Marie when she performerd on her charities Autism’s Got Talent in 2013 and then went on to showcase her talent on Anna’s Roadshow at the Autism show in both London and Manchester and earlier this year on the charities first Album Building Bridges.

Marie has gained her grade 8 ABRSM, DipLCM and ALCM in musical theatre performance.

In January she starts rehearsals for a production of My Fair Lady, which she is really looking forward to.  She is also working towards a classical music performance diploma.

Marie says singing makes her happy, it means everything.  It helps her cope with life.

Anna shares ‘I am grateful to Chrissy B as their regular correspondent to be able to continue in 2018 to raise further autism awareness and acceptance on her show. The power of this platform has allowed me to showcase Autism got Talent performers and the work of our charity.’

Source: https://www.essexmagazine.co.uk/2017/12/anna-kennedy-obe-to-make-the-most-of-her-christmas-day/