Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

#OneLadsChallenge sees child with autism strive to visit every UK fire station

Andrew Dane oneladschallenge 180A nine-year-old boy from Portsmouth is undertaking a huge challenge to visit every fire station in the United Kingdom to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity and promote awareness of autism.

Andrew Impey, who lives with autism, could not read or write, struggled with maths, has poor social skills and found it very difficult to communicate with new people. But since he visited Havant Fire Station in December 2014 to meet the firefighters and have a look around, he has taught himself to read and write, being inspired to set up his own Twitter account.

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Using his new Twitter account [follow with #oneladschallenge] he has now embarked on a journey to visit every fire station in the UK, and document his journey both from Rushmoor and to vastly improved social skills.

Upon completing all the fire stations as well as the service headquarters in Hampshire, Impey was presented with an award by Andy Bowers, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, who said: “The journey Andrew has undertaken is incredible. He’s already visited every fire station in Hampshire, only to set his sights higher and aim for the rest of the country as well.

“The work Andrew is doing to raise the profile of the diverse work that the fire service does in the UK and to raise awareness of autism, not to mention raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity, is incredibly valuable and appreciated by every firefighter in Hampshire and, I’m sure, across the country. I wish Andrew the best of luck with the rest of his journey and look forward to hearing more about his travels in the coming months.”

Having now visited more than 300 fire stations, including stations in Hampshire, the West Midlands, Scotland, the Isle of Wight and London, Impey raises awareness of the impact that autism has on peoples’ lives, as well as raising the profile on on-call firefighters.

He also showcases all the different roles the fire service carries out – from dealing with medical emergencies and car crashes, to education, prevention and community work, and raises money for The Fire Fighters’ Charity.

Picture courtesy of @andrewdaneUK

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