Service users at Daisy Chain, a Teesside-based charity that supports autistic people and their families, have taken part in a Zoom workshop hosted by autistic public speaker, author and statistician Andrew Edwards.

The workshop was hosted by Daisy Chain as part of their wellbeing service for
young people and adults, which has been funded through the Coronavirus Mental
Health Response Fund administered by MIND in partnership with the Mental Health Consortia.

The workshop was set up in order to provide peer support, social connection and inspiration to autistic adults at a time when it is most needed, due to the devastating impact of the pandemic on individuals mental health and wellbeing.

The participants engaged in meaningful conversation, discussed shared experiences and each service user took the opportunity to ask Andrew any burning questions they had.

Andrew shared his experiences of being open and honest about his autism, both in the workplace and with peers and this topic was discussed in depth by the group.

Connor Richardson, service user at Daisy Chain, said: “I enjoyed listening to Andrew Edwards as it was interesting to listen to his story. I can relate to a lot of his experiences especially when he talked about being open and honest about your diagnosis with your employer. I have always done that, and I think it has helped a lot like Andrew said. I also felt fortunate that I received my diagnosis early and have been able to be open and honest about it.”

Another Daisy Chain service user, Alex Boffy, said: “The talk with Andrew has been really interesting, I find it beneficial to see that someone with autism making their mark in the working society.”

Angela Middleton, Young People and Adults’ Wellbeing Leader at Daisy Chain, said:

“The global pandemic has triggered an increased demand for mental health services, which is why Daisy Chain is proud to be able to deliver our fantastic wellbeing support to autistic young people and adults.

“In times like these it’s more important than ever that we come together to offer support to those who need it most. Andrew’s presentation helped to demonstrate that everyone has the potential to succeed and showed us that there’s light and opportunity at the end of the tunnel after lockdown.

“The group really enjoyed the call with Andrew and we’re very grateful to him for taking the time to share his knowledge and wisdom with us.”

Andrew Edwards said: “I had a lovely time speaking with the service users at Daisy Chain. Living with autism myself, I understand how beneficial peer support can be which is why I wanted to participate in the workshop.

“In my opinion, you can’t put any price of our mental health and wellbeing. Taking the time to offer a kind word or any small deed can make an enormous difference to someone’s day when they are feeling down.”

Daisy Chain’s wellbeing team is continuing to provide free wellbeing support services to neurodiverse young people and adults. For further information or to register your interest, please contact wellbeing@daisychainproject.co.uk.

To find out more about the support Daisy Chain can offer you, please visit: https://www.daisychainproject.co.uk/.