Autism Friendly Communities

In the Summer of 2018 Clonakilty proudly became Ireland’s first ever Autism Friendly town.

In the Summer of 2018 Clonakilty proudly became Ireland’s first ever Autism Friendly town. This accreditation could not have been achieved but for the commitment and hard work of the entire Cloankilty community, led by Eugene and Catriona Scally of Scally’s SuperValu and supported by the on-going partnership between Adam Harris, Founder of AsIAm and SuperValu.

The four-month journey saw businesses, organisations and community groups undergo training and organisational changes to ensure they would secure full Autism Friendly Accreditation.

Under SuperValu and AsIAm’s guidance, the town of Clonakilty undertook a commitment to combine the efforts of the entire community to become fully Autism Friendly – a first for anywhere in Ireland.

To receive this accreditation the Clonakilty Community by working together delivered the following:

  • Engagement and training 25% of businesses and voluntary organisations
  • Engagement and training of 50% of public services
  • Engagement and training of 50% of school communities
  • Engagement and training of 50% of healthcare professionals
  • Engagement of 3 employers
  • Reaching 25% of the town’s population

To achieve these targets the community set up a focussed steering group to ensure all deadlines were met and the adequate support was provided.

Speaking about the project, Catriona Scally, Scally’s SuperValu Clonakilty said, ‘Following the overwhelmingly positive response we received from the Autism community in Clonakilty, Scally’s SuperValu knew that there was more we could do to help. While this is an ambitious undertaking, we have the best in the country guiding us coupled with a community spirit and determination that is hard to beat.’

Speaking about the initiative, Adam Harris, Founder of AsIAm said, ‘We are constantly striving to increase awareness of autism and helping people understand ways in which they can be more inclusive for our community. This initiative is incredibly exciting and at AsIAm we are look forward to continuing to working with SuperValu and the community of Clonakilty. The response has been overwhelming already and the energy in the town has blown us away. Through this initiative we are looking forward to mainstreaming autism and making big changes for the Autism Community.’

At SuperValu our ambition is to build more inclusive communities across Ireland. Our work with AsIAm and Middletown Centre for Autism over the past year has opened our eyes to what we can do. We will continue to ensure we use our unique position in the heart of Irish towns to make positive changes across the entire community. This is a project we are very excited about and proud to be supporting and we look forward to supporting it rollout to more communities.’

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