Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy New Year!

ACT NOW would like to wish all our supporters a very Happy New Year!

We want to thank all of our 12,000+ supporters for continuing to back our campaign, for contributing by writing to members of parliament and local authorities and for sharing our content on Facebook. Without your support we wouldn't be where we are now. 

We really value all our supporters who regularly contribute by posting onto our regional Facebook groups and to our community page with their own stories but also are often there to support others posting on our pages for whom life is difficult. 

2011 was a tough year for people in the autism community across the UK. There has been widespread worry and fear about ATOS, the change from Incapacity Benefit to ESA and as we move into 2012 more worry about the impact of the changeover to Universal Credit and PIP. This all comes at a time when our money doesn't stretch as far given the recession and many are worried about keeping their jobs.

In March 2011 we launched a campaign video, ACT NOW are Marching On. We couldn't have released this video without the contribution of many of you, once again we thank you for letting us use the photographs you sent us. As we approach the New Year, we want to share this video with you again as ACT NOW (Autism Campaigners Together) is evolving and so we want you to know we are STILL Marching On

2012 marks a new beginning for ACT NOW - we will launch our new name (Act Now For Autism), website, logo and a forum will follow. This change will reflect our evolving role on Facebook but also retains part of our current name, which is crucial to continuing our campaign work. 

We remain committed to campaigning for trained autism advocates, better autism awareness for the PIP assessment criteria and assessors, better autism training for professionals associated with ATOS or the DWP and we continue to campaign hard for assessments to have descriptors fitting the often complex and subtle aspects of life and work with autism.

We wish you all a happy and peaceful new year. 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead)

Carole, Teresa, Anna & Mavourneen. (Core Group)

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

We want to wish all of our supporters a merry, happy, peaceful and calm Christmas and thank you for your continued support for ACT NOW (Autism Campaigners Together) and each other. 

Carole, Teresa, Anna and Mavourneen. (Core Group)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Roundup Of The Last Fortnight!

Firstly, we ask you to sign Pat Onion's petition (CarerWatch) - we know there are many petitions about just now but we have to keep momentum going: Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families.

We wish you all a very Merry and Happy Christmas!

Campaign Manager: Carole Rutherford
Administrator: Teresa Catto-Smith

PR: Anna Kennedy
Info Officer: Mavourneen Moore  

Friday, 2 December 2011


Roll up, roll up!

Professor Harringon published the findings of the WCA Year 2 Call for Evidence. (read it here: ACT NOW (Autism Campaigners Together) published a response to this report 3 days later - there is a lot of further work to be done and we are very concerned about the DWP continuing to stall the process of changing the descriptors further:

Reaction to George Osborne's Autumn Statement has been rather muted and sour - it does appear the rich will get rich and the poor poorer. Here are the key points of his statement:

More on poverty - the Governments 'anti-poverty plan is failing' was the headline of this Guardian article:

10 people were charged with abuse or neglecting patients after the horrific Panorama programme exposed the plight of some people living in Winterbourne View Home (now closed) 3 more people are still on bail pending further investigation:

 The Daily Mail reported earlier in the week that ATOS are planning to ban email communication as staff are spending too much time on emails which aren't relevant. We feel this is another barrier to effective communication for people in the autism community:

Keith Robertson from the Scottish Disability Equaltity Forum told MSPs some people are becoming suicidal even at the thought of some of the reforms in the UK Welfare Reform Bill - the Scottish Parliament has been looking at the welfare bill:

In a story which caused great concern just over 2 years ago, a father has taken the MET Police to the high court after seven officers pinned down, handcuffed and restrained then imprisoned his (then) 16-year-old son who is autistic:

And finally:

Channel 4 broadcast a special report called 'Revolving Doors' - it's worth a watch. "The number of appeals for ESA has quadrupled in 2 years, from 68,000 in 2009 to 240,000 by the end of this financial year. The cost to the taxpayer is staggering: £80m so far, and rising":

Have a great weekend!