Tuesday, 26 March 2013


George Washington Primary School pupils

 George Washington Primary School has joined a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the challenges faced by autistic children, by launching the innovative ‘Bubble Day’ pack in Sunderland.

Autism-in-Mind (AIM) – the Sunderland-based autism support group/organisation – has produced the Bubble Day pack in collaboration with the Hearts & Minds Challenge, as part of a UK-wide ‘Bubble Day’ initiative to coincide with World Autism Day (2 April).

Hearts & Minds Challenge – a charity which supports children and families living with autism – together with AIM, have worked together on the awareness-raising initiative, which aims to highlight in a fun and simple way how autistic children feel and how they would like to be treated.
Paul Shattock, President of the World Autism Organisation, and the children of George Washington Primary School.
Members of the school celebrated the launch of ‘Bubble Day’ at an event on Friday, 22 March at 11am. The President of the World Autism Organisation, Paul Shattock, attended the launch, where Jesse Ward – a renowned Bubbleologist in the North East region – stood Paul inside a bubble.

The World Autism Organisation is supporting the ‘Bubble Day’ initiative, and has already had requests from autism groups in Spain and Pakistan to have the Bubble Day pack translated into their language. 

The pack, produced and designed by AIM’s Terry Rutherford, will be on the agenda at the Irish Society for Autism’s  50th anniversary International Conference on 3 and 4 April 2013 – an event held in association with the World Autism Organisation.

‘Bubble Day’ is calling for schools, community groups and kids clubs across the region to host their very own events before, on, or after 2 April 2013, which also coincides with World Autism Day. To date, more than 500 schools around the UK have already signed up for ‘Bubble Day’.

Ian McGrath, founder of the Hearts & Minds Challenge, said: “We’re delighted that George Washington Primary School has got wholeheartedly involved with ‘Bubble Day’. The campaign is intended to help people understand the feelings and behaviour of autistic children, who can often feel like they live within their own bubble and struggle to communicate with the wider world.”

Carole Rutherford, co-founder of Autism-in-Mind, said, “We often forget that children with autism are above all else children. They have the same wishes and desires as other children, but often struggle to fit in socially, finding it difficult to form and maintain friendships. We hope that ‘Bubble Day’ will help schools and community groups to understand that children with autism often feel isolated, even within a group.”

Nationally, the campaign is being backed by three of Heart & Mind’s dedicated celebrity patrons, Paul Scholes, Mel Sykes and Keith Duffy.

Television presenter, Mel Sykes, said: “The Hearts & Minds Challenge works tirelessly to support children and families affected by autism. The ‘Bubble Day’ campaign is yet another example of the charity’s commitment to raise awareness across the UK and I urge everyone to get involved in spreading the message far and wide.

In the UK, there are over half a million people with autism. According to ‘Autism and education: the reality for families today’, over 40 per cent of children with autism have been bullied at school.

To join in the fun simply log on to the Autism Bubble Website and download a FREE information pack.

Hearts and Minds can be found here:

Friday, 22 March 2013

Teesside girl collects phones to get iPads for other children with autism

Seven year old Lucy-Jo from Teesside has autism and loves her iPad.  Her parents love it too: they've seen how it has helped her with writing, coordination and independence.

So when they heard about the Hearts and Minds mobile phone recycling scheme, they joined up just before Christmas, but to get iPads to help other children with autism.

"We decided we wanted to give something back to the charities that have helped us," says Lucy-Jo's Mum, Jenna. "We set up a group on facebook called DONATE A PHONE  and we had hundreds of people sending us phones and offering phones.  Lucy-Jo's little smile and photographs really helped :)"

Before long, the family had received 185 old phones, enough to swap for an iPad package with a protective case and Grace App.

Lucy-Jo presented the first iPad to local autism charity MAIN, whose services she uses.

But the phones kept arriving, so the family kept collecting and they now plan to present a second iPad to FROGS, another local charity that helps children with a variety of different disabilities.

You can read more about the family's efforts in the local paper:

Could an iPad help your child too?

If you live in Britain, simply collect 165 old mobile phones and the Manchester-based charity Hearts and Minds will exchange them for a new iPad.

Details here:

Website: :

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Win a family holiday with Hearts and Minds!

There are two special offers from Hearts and Minds that will run until the end of March 2013:


Enjoy the benefits of Hearts and Minds membership and become part of a community of families raising children with autism and other special needs.  Sign up before the end of March and go into a draw for a week's holiday at Lido Beach Holiday Park in Prestatyn (pictured) in North Wales (dates available in April, September and October).

Find out more about Hearts and Minds membership here:

Check out the Lido Beach Holiday Park here:


Are you collecting old mobile phones to exchange for an iPad?  Complete your collection before the end of March and get your phones collected and you could win a family weekend away.

Remember you can find the top tips for collecting old phones here:

Could an iPad help your child too?

If you live in Britain, simply collect 165 old mobile phones and the Manchester-based charity Hearts and Minds will exchange them for a new iPad.

Details here:

Website: :

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

In the News: February 2013

Lots more families, like this one, have been requesting help from local papers to build their old phone collections, to get an iPad through the Hearts and Minds mobile phone recycling scheme: 

There was also coverage of the Three Peaks Challenge, one of several sporting challenges that anyone can join in with, to help raise funds for Hearts and Minds and children with autism:

More information here about the sporting challenges:

Could an iPad help your child too?

If you live in Britain, simply collect 165 old mobile phones and the Manchester-based charity Hearts and Minds will exchange them for a new iPad.

Details here:

Website: :