A former radio presenter and wedding DJ is spending a week living alone in an empty shop in the middle of Stoke city centre in order to raise awareness of autism.
For the campaign, ‘Locked in for Autism’, Andy Bailey is eating, sleeping, working and playing in the large shop window of the former Santander Bank in Tontine Square from 23–30 May.
All funds raised during the campaign will be donated to the Stoke-based charity, Caudwell Children, which provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
As part of his work with the charity, Bailey is aiming to put “autism in the shop window”, by spending a week of his life, literally, ‘trapped’ inside a shop.
“I’ve managed to find an empty property in the heart of the busy shopping district where it’s all pedestrianised with easy access,” he explained.
“I’ll be staying during school half-term, so I’m hoping lots of families will come down and help me through the 168 hours! I’ve already had plenty of offers from local singers and musicians willing to come down and perform in front of the shop, so at least I won’t get bored!
“[The recent] Autism Awareness Day barely got a mention in the [mainstream] media. Considering autism is the most prevalent disability in the UK this was incredibly disappointing. So I’m literally putting autism in the shop window and raising some money for Caudwell Children at the same time.”
The ACT programme unlocks the lives of children with autism and helps them reach their full potential. Since 2005 Caudwell Children has provided more than £7.8 million of support to some 4,600 children with autism, making it one of the UK’s fastest growing charities.