Sport and Autism (UK) CIC has been established to provide a platform to increase awareness of autism through sport.
The organisation, which will be known and operate as Spautism for short, will endeavour to improve the quality of the experience for autistic people (be they competing, spectating or working) within sport.
A report published in 2012 – "Estimating the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Conditions in Adults – Extending the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey" – identified that more than one in 100 adults in the UK were on the autism spectrum. That figure is now believed to be nearer to one in 69, which would fill Wembley Stadium almost eight times over.
Spautism aims to engage autistic individuals in the sports industry and will give them the opportunity to learn and develop employability skills, and improve their prospects on a broader scale. It will also support clubs and organisations looking to provide a more inclusive environment for autistic employees, supporters and visitors.
Tom Cliffe, the founder of Track NN Limited – a Northamptonshire-based social enterprise set up to help autistic people to access employment – is one of the people behind the community interest company.
Cliffe, who will serve as a director of Sport and Autism (UK) CIC, explained: “We are very excited by the opportunity to create a movement that will champion autistic people while providing a platform to educate the wider audience about autism within the sports industry.
“Sport forms such an important part of so many people’s daily lives and generates so many storylines and conversation points.
“Its ability to be a positive influence can never be understated – something that has been highlighted by its absence during the Coronavirus pandemic we are currently experiencing.
“Our aims are twofold. The initial objective is to encourage open conversation with stakeholders that will improve the quality of the experience for autistic sports fans. As we grow, we will also aim to support those organisations within sport who seek to benefit from the value that individuals from the autistic community can add.
“I have to thank and give credit to Chris Rivett for taking an idea and establishing a vision and purpose for Spautism. This is something we spent a considerable amount of time in 2019 formulating and he’s been such a huge driver to get the project off the ground, and to establish a working group that has got us to this point.
“We now look forward to widening the net of our campaign and incorporating as many people that want to be involved in Spautism.”
For more information, please engage with the #spautism hashtag on social media.