Liverpool is set to become the first English city to light up its buildings blue to raise awareness for autism.
St George’s Hall and the Town Hall will be immersed in blue light on Wednesday 2nd April to commemorate United Nations World Autism Awareness Day.
The world initiative will see some of the most iconic buildings and landmarks across the globe bathed in blue, including the Sydney Opera House, Empire State Building and Niagara Falls for ‘Light It Up Blue’ to highlight the condition which affects around 700,000 people in the United Kingdom.
Julie Simpson, a mum from Speke who is a member of Liverpool Autistic Children’s Alliance which supports parents, carers and young people with the condition, came up with the idea. Her son, Joe, has autism and Julie is an active campaigner for greater understanding of the condition.
Julie wrote to Mayor Joe Anderson asking if the city could turn its buildings blue and he is now urging owners of key buildings in the city to show support.
Mayor Anderson said: “I am absolutely delighted that we are able to help raise awareness of autism by lighting up our buildings in blue and I am asking other buildings to do the same.
“It is really important that we do all we can to highlight autism and its symptoms to overcome ignorance around it, and also to support parent and carers.”
Everton Football Club is raising awareness of autism at their match at Goodison Park against Arsenal on April 6th, including the distribution of flyers and collection buckets to raise money for the National Autistic Society in the fan zone.
John Sorenson from Liverpool Autistic Children’s Alliance said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that the city council is supporting world autism awareness day and the Light It Up Blue campaign.”
There has been a 25 percent increase in pupils diagnosed with autism in Liverpool due to improved assessment at an early age.
The city council is expanding the number of special school places. A new £6 million home for Millstead Primary School is being built in Everton, while Abbot’s Lea Special School which specialises in educating young people with autism is getting an extra six classrooms, and Palmerston Special School is also being extended.