Football teams unite to help Sheffield autism charity celebrate 30th anniversary

Autism Plus community fundraiser, pictured with Peter Hambly and Josh Garcia, has appealed for businesses to back the charity's 30th anniversary fundraising year
Autism Plus community fundraiser, pictured with Peter Hambly and Josh Garcia, has appealed for businesses to back the charity's 30th anniversary fundraising year
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South Yorkshire's top football clubs are uniting to help a Sheffield charity mark its 30th anniversary.

Autism Plus was founded in 1987 by a group of parents in Doncaster whose children had the developmental disability, which affects people's ability to communicate.

You can sign up now to join the sponsored walk between football grounds in aid of Autism Plus

You can sign up now to join the sponsored walk between football grounds in aid of Autism Plus

Today it has offices in Sheffield and Doncaster, and supports more than 400 people in the north of England with autism, learning disabilities and mental health problems.

To celebrate its birthday, the charity has launched a Challenge 30 Appeal - a year-long mission to raise at least £1,000 for every year of its existence.

It has joined forces with Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Chesterfield FC and Rotherham United for its flagship event - a 21-mile walk between the grounds of the four football clubs this April.

A sponsored sky dive and a marathon spin bike session are among the other events planned, but the charity wants more people to organise events and make this a birthday to remember.

Andy Girdham, community fundraiser for the charity, said: "Challenge 30 started when I had the idea to get 30 different companies or people to raise at least £1,000 each throughout 2017, or to give us their unwanted stock or make a donation of £1,000 or above, to celebrate our anniversary.

"We're delighted to have the football clubs on board, and a number of companies have already promised to back the appeal but we still need more people to get behind the appeal."

Autism Plus provides a range of services to help those with autism stay healthy and build their skills and confidence, with the ultimate goal of finding employment and being able to live independently.

Those range from sports sessions and drama and music classes, to gardening and woodwork courses which could be the stepping stone to paid work.

To take part in the Football 4 Austism sponsored walk on Tuesday, April 4, or to get in touch about other ways to support the Challenge 30 Appeal, call Andy on 0785 5237 181 or email andrew.girdham@autismplus.co.uk.