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More About Us 

 Autistic UK is fully user-led and developed by Autistic people for Autistic people

to promote the value of acceptance of Autistic people in the community.



The inspiration to develop Autistic UK was drawn from the Autistic Rights Movement UK which was established in 2005 - This joined with the London Autistic Rights Movement until 2012.  

Autistic UK became an Unincorporated Voluntary Organisation (UVO) in 2009, just before the Autism Act was passed - Since then there have been 7-13 members in the committee running campaigns and events. 

Autistic UK has grown from an unincorporated voluntary organisation over the space of ten years  

It was decided coming up to our tenth anniversary that we needed to evolve to meet the changing needs of our members in these uncertain times and to give us a legal structure to enable us to begin accessing funding and to ensure that we have all the correct insurances and policy in place to ensure the smooth and sustainable running of the organisation and to allow us to represent the views of autistic people at a policy level .

The governing method for unincorporated associations is the constitution or association rules.     

The term ‘unincorporated’ means that, in law, the association has no existence apart from its members as individuals. Members are responsible for any debts the association incurs. Members can be sued personally for damages following any accident occurring during activities or events organised by the association.   

In our previous form, we were unable to develop to the level we would like.  An unincorporated association cannot own property, The association cannot enter legal action, borrow money or enter into contracts.   

When unincorporated associations think they are doing such things, it is the individuals who sign the documents who are entering into a legal agreement, and it is they as individuals who are liable if anything goes wrong.  Unincorporated organisations have no legal protection which greatly limited what we could do.   


Autistic UK became a CIC in 2019 and launched as a CIC publicly at the Future is Gold event in May 2019. It was a really successful event, and we were excited about holding many more events in 2020.


This was not to be as in March 2020 the world went into “covid lockdown”  Setting up as a non-profit just before a global pandemic proved to be a real challenge but despite the barriers and the impact of Covid itself on our director’s and volunteers’ health   ,we carried on operating throughout the pandemic .Rather than our work dropping off it increased and we successfully developed peer support sessions and engaged with many organisations using virtual methods  we have still managed to do  a large amount of representation and engagement during the pandemic and have sat on many advisory group

Like many disabled people's organisations Autistic UK has been hit hard by the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis. The majority of user-led organisations currently operate in survival mode with many eating into their limited reserves. We currently run on a limited income and would be unable to operate without the commitment of our directors.


The organisation is currently led by a dedicated team of autistic adults who give their time voluntarily to keep the organisation running and maintains its values and principles which stay true to its roots of being a grassroots disabled people's organisation .


The executive directors all share the aim to see better support, provision, and understanding of Autistic people and their lives, and are committed to the development of Autistic UK. 

Over the last five years, our role has evolved greatly, and we have morphed from an organisation that held one or two events a year and writes a few letters into an organisation that has its voice heard regularly at a national level. 


We continue to work to fulfil our primary aim which is ensuring that Autistic Voices are heard in the development of policy, services and to increase understanding to ensure that there is a true and authentic representation of Autistic People

The journey we have been on since our formation in 2019 up to  today has been challenging, enlightening and at times great fun  We have connected with autistic adults across the UK and have met many autistic advocates who give us hope for a brighter future 


We recognise that to be sustainable we need to constantly undertake strategic planning to ensure that our organisaation evolves to keep up with new styles of engagement and that can represent our network members across policy areas and service development


To find out how we currently do this read More About our Work  


Autistic UK Intro

Autistic UK Intro

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What is a Disabled People's Organisation?    


Disabled People's Organisation’s are led by disabled people for disabled people


They have a deep understanding of the needs of Disabled People Lead from their needs not been told what they need by non-disabled people  

A DPO or Disabled People’s Organisation is an organisation which is run and controlled by Disabled people. Traditionally many disability organisations have not been run by Disabled people themselves but by non-disabled people on Disabled people’s behalf. 


We feel that organisations run by Disabled people are in a better position to understand Disabled people’s lived experience and to speak for them. They are an important voice which needs to be heard. 


The Role of DPOs 


The role of these organisations includes: 

  • providing disability communities with voices of our own 

  • identifying the needs of people with disability 

  • expressing views on priorities 

  • evaluating services 

  • advocating for change 

  • raising public awareness  


DPO is an acronym for Disabled Peoples Organisations 

General Comment 7 from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Disabled People (CRPD) sets out why disabled people need representation and how DPOs should be resourced to support and provide that. Click here to read the full General Comment 7. 


Read Inclusion London's full research report 'Understanding the needs of DDPOs in England' 

What is a Grassroots Organisation? 


Autistic UK for many years has been a true grass roots group and have run for years with a very informal structure 

A grassroots organisation is a self-organised group of individuals pursuing common interests through a volunteer-based, non-profit organisation.


Grassroots organizations usually have a low degree of formality but a broader purpose than issue-based self-help groups, community-based organisations, or neighborhood-associations.  

 People focused, they are directly and immediately responsive to the needs and wishes of the people involved.  

A defining characteristic is that most of the work is done not only for the people involved but also by them, with little or no paid staff, and usually without big budgets or other large resource reservoirs. They provide the mechanism for individuals to discover and bring forth their individual gifts to their community.  

While membership may not be explicitly defined, they work with a clear sense of who “belongs” and with the understanding that the group is a vehicle for the collective action of the members. 

Well-run grassroots organization use every tool at their disposal to get their message out: press releases, press conferences, a political website, volunteer activity, direct mail, door to door, rallies, etc. 

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