Santa’s Grotto and Christmas Market – Charity success!

Santa’s Grotto and Christmas Market – Charity success!

The first ever Autism friendly Santa’s Grotto and Christmas Market on Saturday 9th December was a collaboration between three groups and charities – Anna Kennedy Online, Hillingdon DADS and Mencap Hillingdon South which was a huge success. The Deputy Mayor of Hillingdon Cllr Morgan and his wife were in attendance and have already shared they want to return next year and give full support in 2018.

With so much positive feedback from Parent/Carers and all went on their merry way with a smile on their faces. The concept was received positively and some children not normally able to see Santa managed to meet him were so happy that they finally managed to spend some time at the grotto along with their siblings.

Many who thought their children wouldn’t stay too long actually managed to stay much longer and were happy to see their children enjoy the festivities within the Christmas Market too. Parent/Carers got to relax knowing that no one would judge them or their families and talk to other Parent/Carers. This formed new relationships of support amongst the families.

Kevin Buglar founder from Hillingdon DADS said “We are already looking forward to having an even better event next year with all the same and new Parent/Carers and their wonderful Children. We will start planning for it after April 2018 to see that it is managed and staged in the same festive, giving and supportive manner. Our plans until then is to continue the growth of Hillingdon DADS giving support from DADS4DADS caring for Children with Disabilities and their families in the UK”

Anna Kennedy said ‘ It was a lovely day at the autism friendly Santa’s Grotto. It was lovely to see lots of happy families spending time together. Looking forward to next year’

To all the Parent/Carers in the UK – Have yourselves a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Hillingdon DADS, Anna Kennedy Online and Mencap!

Anna Kennedy, Maggie Paterson and Callum Kirrage on The Chrissy B show

Anna Kennedy, Maggie Paterson and Callum Kirrage on The Chrissy B show

Chrissy speaks  Anna Kennedy about her latest work with the Autism community, along with director of the Pineapple Performing Arts School Maggie Paterson and an amazing dance performance by Callum Kirrage – this part starts just after 15 minutes in.

The Chrissy B Show airs on SKY 203 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10pm in our cosy living room studio in the heart of London.

UK Charity Week starts today

UK Charity Week starts today

Charities all around the UK are celebrating #UKCharityWeek

Millions of people around the country are this week joining forces to celebrate #UKCharityWeek 2017.

Hundreds of Official Partner Charities and Corporate Friends will be working hard to raise both awareness and funds for some of the nation’s favourite charitable causes.

#UKCharityWeek is designed to give the people of the United Kingdom an opportunity to place awareness and fundraising for charities high on the national agenda at a time of the year when people are statistically at their most giving.

#UKCharityWeek is always held within the first full week of December, which in the case of 2017 is 4th-10th December.

Founder Lee Rayment told us: “It is without a doubt a fantastic time of year, we have nearly three hundred Official Partner Charities throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland all taking part and doing their things to raise both money and much-needed awareness of their respective causes.

“All that aside, it is also a great opportunity to knock hate down a peg or two, and spread the love and work of good people.”

The campaign’s patron, Anna Kennedy OBE, said: “It’s vital that we continue to support our charities and to give them the respect and confidence they need to do their fabulous work. Please support the campaign whether that’s retweeting posts or running a fundraising event for one of our partners.”

You can follow the official #UKCharityWeek campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @UKCharityWeek.

Autism’s Got Talent roadshow to visit Merseyside in 2018

Autism’s Got Talent roadshow to visit Merseyside in 2018

Are you a singer, dancer, musician, comedian or gymnast who just happens to be on the autism spectrum?

Charity Autism Together and autism campaigner Anna Kennedy OBE have joined forces to bring the Autism’s Got Talent Roadshow, a live show celebrating the diverse talents of children and adults with autism, to Merseyside. The roadshow will be visiting Merseyside in November 2018 and event organisers are already on the lookout for the best talent the North West has to offer.

How to submit your audition video:


Organisers are calling for audition videos to be submitted by 31 May 2018.  Shortlisted acts will be asked to perform in the live show at the Floral Pavilion Theatre in New Brighton on 23rd November 2018. Audition videos no longer than 1.5 minutes can be submitted via

All entrants must also submit a personal profile form via the website. Videos can be submitted between 1 December 2017 and 31 May 2018. Shortlisted acts will be advised by 25 June 2018.If you have questions please email or call 0151 334 7510.

Autism’s Got Talent was established by charity Anna Kennedy Online and the event has previously been held at London’s Mermaid Theatre and has also toured to the North East.

Previous events have included artists from around the world, including Croatia, Canada and the US and have also showcased former X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent contestants and world class gymnasts.

CEO of Autism Together, Robin Bush, said, “We love Autism’s Got Talent and are so happy to be bringing this spectacular roadshow to Merseyside.  Whatever your talent, we want to hear from you.  We can’t wait to watch the audition videos and to have our own chance, in our own region, of discovering a true star.”

Autism campaigner Anna Kennedy said, “We aim to continue to build Autism’s Got Talent year by year and we are thrilled that our Autism’s Got Talent Roadshow is set to visit Merseyside next year. We want all those involved to have fun, do what they love, make friends and be themselves, and have one night which is all about them.”


BBC Breakfast SEND

BBC Breakfast SEND

All week BBC Breakfast have been highlighting difficulties families are facing with Special Needs Education and today they launched new findings report from the All Parliamentary Group on Autism.

All the facts in the report  and what has been highlighted on BBC Breakfast about SEND is nothing new for me and many other families.

Parents have been struggling across the country and battling the SEN system since my sons were diagnosed with autism in 1994 hence why we had  to set up our own school in 1999 now one of the largest schools for children in the UK..

The BBC highlighting difficulties with #SEND parents is great and sparking conversation across the country however these children need action because early intervention is crucial !

It is a postcode lottery of where you live and how hard you are prepared to battle learning the system ,navigate your way through beaurocracy and jumping over every hurdle!!

I speak to parents all the time and they are getting into debt paying thousands for SEND reports .

I highlighted this very issue on BBC Breakfast a couple years ago in this interview and nothing really has changed. Our charity speak to parents everyday at all hours of the day who are really struggling and cannot see light at the end of the SEND tunnel .

Please watch this video when I was on invited onto the famous BBC couch alongside Steve Silberman, the author of the groundbreaking book Neuotribes.  I said ‘All we are asking for is acceptance for all those affected by Autism, give them a chance and you’ll see how much they can contribute to society’ was my message. We couldn’t ask for a better platform to get our message across:


‘L.A. should not blow their budget on using expensive solicitors to fight against parents #BBCsend #Autism #inclusion – that would be a great start. The pressure on parents is phenomenal unfair and unacceptable’ A quote on twitter from Mala Thapar one of my charity champions who had a difficult process through the SEND system with her son.

Leading autism ambassador set to switch on the christmas lights in Beckenham

Leading autism ambassador set to switch on the christmas lights in Beckenham

A leading UK Ambassador and Campaigner raising awareness for families of children and adults diagnosed with autism will be switching on the Christmas Lights on December 2 in Beckenham.

Anna Kennedy has received an OBE for setting up schools for children with autism. She has appeared on BBC’s Comic Relief dancing on the very first Peoples Strictly performing the Charleston with Robin Windsor at the Elstree Studio in front of 4 million people on BBC1.

Anna has also appeared as a guest on a special Great British Menu with Chef Adam Reid for and won Dr Hilarys Heath Hero on GMTV amongst many other accolades.

Father Christmas will be in Beckinham helped by his little elves who’ll be handing out Christmas gifts along the route from Croydon Road Recreational Park, through Beckenham High Street with lots of singing and fun along the way.

Anna says she is honoured and excited to be switching on the christmas lights.

A few of the pupils will be attending with their families who live in Beckenham and attend a school for autistic children that Anna is a co founder.