Options Roxby House celebrated a fantastic day in Scunthorpe as they hosted their annual Inclusive Festival: an opportunity to raise awareness for autism and bring together friends, families and the local community.
The August festival was organised by Options Autism, part of Outcomes First Group – a national provider of care and education to children, young people and adults with autism, complex needs and learning difficulties. The main aim was to raise awareness of autism, fundraise and involve the local community. The festival was a resounding success - the sun shone for most of the day, resulting in a relaxed and open-air event and more than £1,500 was raised.
The festival took place in the grounds of Options Roxby House - a specialist residential service for people aged over 16, rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As such, the grounds and the staff were perfectly equipped to ensure that the festival was tailored to those with sensory difficulties. To support this there were calm, relaxing areas which visitors could make use of if they needed to take some time out. Additionally, the games were expertly selected to reduce stress and anxiety and to promote a sense of achievement for all.
This was a festival like no other, as it offered a wide array of fun activities to suit all interests: live entertainment, a barbeque and a bar. There was also a wide range of stalls, including arts and crafts, face painting, glitter tattoos and treats. To add to the excitement, families could have a go at a round of crazy golf, there was a photo booth, circus workshop, gymnastics show, singers and a raffle for all age groups. The younger ones were also able to make use of the bouncy castle.
The stall holders all had an understanding of how autism and learning difficulties affect individuals and their families and how to best accommodate their needs. This meant allowing extra time to process information when speaking and listening and being patient so that visitors could count money at their own pace or make decisions and choices in their own time.
The festival truly lived up to its name – its inclusivity meant that even the barbeque catered for those on vegetarian and gluten-free diets as food intolerances or allergies are a common feature of autism. The care that the organisers took over the menu meant everyone could enjoy a delicious lunch without added anxiety for parents on a family day out.
As an extra bonus, Options Autism Ambassador Anna Kennedy OBE presented a talk about her own experiences as a parent of children with autism, how she founded schools for young people on the autism spectrum and her charity Anna Kennedy Online, which aids individuals with autism and raises awareness globally.
The organisers were thrilled with the event. Anita Keech, one of the House Managers from Options Roxby House commented, “It was a fantastic day and fun was had by all. We are proud to call the day a complete success and look forward to hosting it again next year.”
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