CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Medals for students with autism who took on 10km park walk

'We want to break down those barriers and say: Look we can do it, we are part of society too'

03 April, 2017 — By Tom Foot

College students and staff at the Cantelowes Gardens fundraising walk. One student praised staff who ‘always look out for us’

STUDENTS with autism have been praised by their teachers after completing a 10km sponsored walk around a public park.

Medals were handed out to walkers, aged 16 to 24, from Leighton Education Project, run by Elfrida Rathbone Camden.

The students overcame their fears to raise money for National Autism Society at the walk in Cantelowes Gardens on Tuesday. Many of the Kentish Town college’s students find it difficult to be out in public places.

Yesica Kamnel, who works at the college, said: “For a lot of our students, doing something for someone, or something, else – it’s not so easy. They don’t get to have that kind of participation in society. And they find it hard to socialise. Even walking outside here can be a challenge. The looks, the stares, the glares. It can all be very intimidating.”

She added: “We want to break down those barriers and say: Look we can do it, we are part of society too.”

The Elfrida charity, based in Camden for 30 years, runs a three-year college course helping young people with autism prepare for adult life.

Despite the tiring walk, the students were all upbeat. They spoke of how they had built up close relationships with college staff. One said: “They always look out for us, no matter what.”

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