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Aberdeen Autism Charity raises life-changing amount at annual dinner

Autism & Neurodiversity North Scotland (A-ND) last week (Thursday 23rd May) welcomed back its annual dinner for a second year, announcing a fundraising total of £80,000.

The Aberdeen-based support charity welcomed guests to Aberdeen’s Union Kirk for the sold-out Think Different Dinner, organised and managed by A-ND's event and PR partners ThinkPR Scotland, with all money raised contributing towards the expansion of A-ND's services in the north of Scotland including aims for growth within key locations into the highlands. 

A-ND currently provides ongoing ‘life-changing’ care and support services to over 230 individuals and their families throughout Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, and the Highlands, and with continued funding, A-ND has its sights set on increasing this number to more than 500 by 2027. Plans for strategic growth in North Scotland will be strengthened by the opening of a brand-new 200+ sq. ft. Highland Playscheme facility in Dingwall later this year – mirroring A-ND's established Aberdeen Playscheme.  

The new Highland facility has been made possible by corporate supporter, Envoy Group, who donated to the charity it’s largest corporate investment to date.  

Also standing as a Platinum Sponsor at the dinner, Envoy Group was joined by ongoing supporters and fellow Platinum Sponsor, Global E&C; Gold Sponsor, Stork; and Silver Sponsor, Serica Energy. 

As an added surprise, attendees were joined by special guests, Luke and Tom Stoltman – the ‘World’s Strongest Brothers’ and Highland natives themselves. Diagnosed as autistic at the age of five, 3x World’s Strongest Man winner Tom Stoltman has since become an ambassador for autism and neurodiversity, educating and empowering others like himself on what he describes as his superpower. 

The annual dinner is the charity’s largest fundraising event, providing the platform to generate support and is crucial in increasing awareness of A-ND's services. Since last year’s dinner, A-ND has increased the number of people it supports from 150 to 236 whilst launching its innovative Binky the Sensory Bus initiative: a double-decker bus offering a unique and specialised mobile sensory environment. 

Reflecting on what these funds mean for the charity, A-ND CEO Billy Alexander commented: "This is truly a new high for us here at A-ND. The outstanding success of the Think Different Dinner 2024 is a testament to the power of collaboration between the private and third sectors. When we work together, the difference we can make in our community is, quite literally, life-changing - we saw it last year after the success of the inaugural dinner, and we'll see it again now. 

“Progress is critical for A-ND, with more than 22,000 estimated neurodiverse individuals in Aberdeen City alone and we have seen several major milestones over the last two years. This year's event was a fantastic night to reflect on how far we've come and celebrate the beautiful individuals and families we support and our team who make magic every day but also provide us with a platform to set our sights on the future of A-ND. With the network of support that has shown belief in our mission, I know we are in a strong position to keep creating changes throughout Scotland." 

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