Who are we?
We are Jon and Kim Southall, parents of 15 year old twin boys Dylan (left) and Ethan (right). In 2010 Dylan was diagnosed with autism and developmental delay. Dylan’s diagnosis didn’t come as a shock as we had our suspicions from before his second birthday. Dylan’s autism affects him and our family on a daily basis, there is no cure. What we do have though is knowledge of the disability, understanding and heaps of patience. Dylan is a huge inspiration to us and is evidence that with hard work, encouragement and love they can achieve things we never imagined possible. Our hopes for the future is that Dylan can grow up in a world that understands autism and with support he can go on to live an independent life without limits.
We are very honoured & humbled to be nominated for The Sentinel Our Heroes Awards 2012 as Charity Champion/Volunteer.
The nomination came as a huge shock after only setting up Autism Aware UK in February 2012, we attended the awards ceremony on the 20/9/12 at the Moat House Hotel in Stoke on Trent where we were presented with a runners up certificate in our category by England world cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks!
It truly was a phenomenal evening surrounded by inspirational people & celebrities from Stoke on Trent, it was the proudest moment of our lives.
We held our first annual charity ball at Alton Towers on 9th November 2012. The evening was a huge success and with 150 guests attending and we raised £2,809 on the night.
During 2012 we raised £14,046 for autism charities with the help of family, friends & the support our social network followers.
Our aspiration for 2013 was to turn Autism Aware UK into a registered charity and on the 21st October 2013 our aspiration became a reality! We ended our fundraising year for 2013 with another hugely successful charity ball with 200 guests in attendance & £4,486 raised on the night.
From 2014 to the present day we continued to build AAUK as a national charity and continued to raise autism awareness and funds which are used to help support families affected by autism & to purchase educational equipment for schools/groups to use to benefit the educational needs of people with autism.
Since 2012 with the support of our followers we have raised over £150,000 and donated ten’s of thousands of pounds to schools, groups and organisations whilst continuing to make our annual fundraising events a great success.
Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 this changed the world for everyone and with the UK going in and out of lockdowns it was impossible to organise our annual events, therefore we felt it would be time to take a break and take some personal time for ourselves and our family.
Going into 2022 this sees our small charity turn 10 years old on February 28th 2022 and with Coronavirus restrictions easing we felt that it was only right to celebrate this milestone, therefore we are thrilled to be reintroducing some of our fundraising events whilst also being able to once again open up to funding requests.
Pre Coronavirus pandemic we received a record amount of funding requests, to which we donated ten’s of thousands of pounds to a verity of projects however, unfortunately we are unable to support everyone due to us being a small charity, this is where we heavily rely on your kind support!
2022 will see us continue to try and support as any people / schools/groups as possible, If you would like to support us in anyway please get in touch.