Last week Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane, was given the honour of supporting the launch of the Cheshire Autism Practical Support (ChAPs) ‘Awakenings’ Art Exhibition in Northwich.
ChAPs is a local charity which provides practical support, training and activities to children, young people and adults who live with autism.
The concept of the exhibition was to allow children and adults on the autistic spectrum the chance to express themselves through art and to show off what they had created to guests.
The event took place on Thursday 30 March as part of celebrations for the grand opening of ChAPs’ new training facility in the town. It also coincided with World Autism Awareness Month. The exhibition was also attended by the Mayor of Northwich, Councillor Kevin Rimmer, Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane, said: “It was a great honour to be able to attend this event and I am proud to support this local charity.
“Having spoken to the families of people who live with autism, it’s clear to me that the services and specialist support provided by ChAPs is invaluable. I have no doubt that this new training facility will provide a real benefit to the charity.
Whilst attending the launch Mr Keane also discussed the ‘Attention Card’ which was developed in partnership with ChAPs and police and fire services.
The ‘Attention Card’ is issued to people who have been diagnosed with autism. The card, which the person carries on them at all times, confirms that they are on the autistic spectrum and will be treated as vulnerable.
Mr Keane added: “It’s amazing to see how such a simple tool can provide such a real benefit to people who live with autism. Autism is a hidden disability, so in the event of an emergency it’s often hard for police officers, and other emergency services staff, to identify if somebody has autism. However, by carrying the Attention Card officers can instantly identify that somebody is autistic, meaning that they can be provided with the specialist support that they need - which can often be crucial.”
Since its launch the ‘Attention Card’ has proved so successful that it has now been recognised as best practice by the Home Office and the scheme has since been rolled out across the UK by a number of police forces.
To apply for an Attention Card,or to find out more information about the support, training and activities offered by ChAPS, visit www.cheshireautism.org.uk.