As we approach World Autism Awareness Week 2021, we sat down with one of our Board Members Cllr Louie Hamblett, who also serves as Oldham’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care…

Hello Louie! Could you introduce yourself for anyone that doesn’t know you?

Hi and yes, of course!

I’m Louie and I was elected to Oldham Council and to the MioCare Group Board as of summer 2019. I’ve worked closely alongside Oldham’s Special Education Mental Health teams too, having been diagnosed with autism/SEND needs myself back in 2014.

I champion positive work done with autistic people and also wish to address people’s understanding of autism (and that it is not a disability).

You mention that you’re on the autistic spectrum yourself. Thinking about the restrictions in place during the last year, how has life changed for you and how you live with autism?

Well, I use a lot more of my PC and phone that’s for sure! There’s now plenty of screen time.

The feeling of anxiety did kick in when I could no long visit workplaces or friends and family. Also, the feeling of being trapped in my home was prevalent.

However, as time’s gone on, I’ve found the reverse – I’ve gotten used to being indoors and now have a slight feeling of dread each time I go out! 

You’re not alone there!

How important is it for you (and for the MioCare Group as an organisation) to be able to share your experience and expertise on the Group’s Board of Management?

As the MioCare Group actively supports autistic people, particularly in its Supported Living service, Wellbeing and MILES@Ena Day Services, it’s important that from top to bottom the whole organisation work with and listen to those living with autism.

And in any way I can, I will do my best to be a voice for those people and question what the Group is, what it does and what it can do for them.

Thank you, Louie. Finally, do you have a message for everyone celebrating World Autism Awareness Week 2021?

I know that the MioCare Group has been brilliant in supporting both autistic service users and staff.

I’m proud to be a Board Member and I hope that World Autism Awareness Week gives people a chance to pause for thought, consider those who are autistic and look into ways to help make their world just that bit better in the future.