Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP: pledges to champion autism in South Basildon & East Thurrock

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock at a reception at the Houses of Parliament, has pledged to promote more autism awareness in the constituency.

Stephen Metcalfe MP with 
President of the National Autistic Society, Jane Asher.
Stephen Metcalfe, a member of the All-party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA), met local families and heard moving testimonies from people living with autism, a lifelong condition which affects over 3,000 people in every Parliamentary constituency. 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I was very moved by what I heard today when listening to people living with autism. More than 1 in 100 people in the UK have the condition and many have battled to get their needs identified, diagnosed, understood and then met. “

“We heard how negative public attitudes and misconceptions about autism can harm families and individuals and limit their opportunities.”

“I plan to actively promote more awareness in Basildon and Thurrock to improve access to public spaces, employment and services. This will enable more people living with autism to play an active role in their community and to achieve their full potential.”   

The event was attended by nearly one hundred Parliamentarians and President of the National Autistic Society, Jane Asher, who said: “Awareness of the word autism has increased dramatically since I first became involved many years ago, but understanding of this complex condition is still desperately low, that’s why I'm very grateful that so many Parliamentarians came to the event. 

“Parliamentarians have the power to make a real change in the lives of those with autism by helping us to spread understanding among their local communities. I do hope they will work with us in trying to make the world a more welcoming place for those affected and their families."  

Chair of the APPGA, Rt. Hon. Cheryl Gillan MP, said: “I am delighted to have been elected Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, a cross-party grouping of 200 MPs and Members of the House of Lords. There are over 3,000 people in each constituency affected by autism and it’s crucial they all get the right support.”