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Reflections on an amazing year

Well Goodbye 2023, Hello 2024, It's hard to believe that 2023 is over. This year has gone by so fast, and I don’t know how we did it, but we packed so much in that there are so many accomplishments and highlights, I couldn’t pinpoint my favourites. 

​​January saw us setting up for the year planning out our calendar for the year. We had so many ideas and plans it was amazing to see how excited everyone was for our 10th Anniversary year.  

​February saw the pilot of our newsletter – The Neurogazette before the Neurogazette was a thing. It was amazing to see so many businesses get on board to support us and have us support them through advertising.  

​March saw us getting the details of our 10th Birthday Party solidified. We gained an Advanced Aesthetic Nurse in the form of Lisa Rolston who is owner of Mesotherapy NI and a big supporter of NDUK. I think the best part of March had to be the Easter Bunny coming to visit. 

​April saw us get out and about for a while as we held a stall in Ards Shopping Centre, our founder got nominated for a #MightyWomen Award … Inspirational Woman... our Ruth is that because she WON!  

​May was a big month for us because we said goodbye to a volunteer who came across the world to volunteer with us while they were travelling. But don’t be too sad because May saw us gain two volunteers who work hard behind the scenes. We also went to the CFAC Centre for Autism Conference.   ​ 

In June we attended the Families First Summer Awards and were grateful to be the charity partner of the night it was a fabulous event with some incredible people.

August was a slower month as people were enjoying their well-deserved breaks, but the support didn't stop we got more support through and finalised plans for programmes. We had the pleasure of hosting the MDT Social Workers from Ards and North Down, was a great meeting to help get our message and charity out in public. Lesley also organised an incredible night of laughs and fun at McBride's on the Square - our Pub Quiz which was a huge success.

September was a superb month for us, Lesley and Helen went on National Radio - BBC Radio Ulster to talk about diagnosis in later life after footballer James McClean was diagnosed with Autism at 34.

October... was October we were completely consumed by our 10th Anniversary Ball, Helen was busy writing and rewriting her notes, and the rest of the girls were busy organising every little detail down to a tee. We had an amazing balloon arch by Perfetto Balloons, an amazing photographer in Gorgeous Photography NI, - Some of you amazing attendees still have to collect your photos. The manager of the La Mon - Chris was an amazing support, not to mention DJ, I don't think we have ever danced as much, oh and we can't forget the marvelous Motown Sensations - they were incredible, I think they've got a new fan group in NDUK. Getting to the heart of the night we were there to celebrate 10 years of the charity and all the amazing people who have helped make the charity what it is today. We wouldn't be the charity we are without your love and support so from the bottom of our hearts we thank you.

November... You would think after such a hectic month, we'd be on a cooldown, but not NeurodiversityUK. We held our first annual Anti-Bullying Brunch for Anti-Bullying week as we all have some first-hand experience either through a loved one or our pasts where we have been bullied and at NeurodiversityUK we hold a zero-tolerance policy on bullying. We also attended the Social Enterprise NI Awards, which was a night of great company, fine food and a lot of fun. Helen and Kirsty also attended the Independent Living NI event and held a stall, it was a great turnout where we got to tell more people about the work we do and connect with other like-minded people who want to make the world a more accessible place. We were grateful to be nominated for the Healthcare Heroes and Keyworker awards in the category - Wellbeing, which we WON! It is an incredible honour to be among so many awe-inspiring heroes of the healthcare sector.

December... Oh, what a night we had at our annual Christmas party, The elves were out and ready to party and party we did. We had Secret Santa in which lovely very thoughtful gifts were exchanged. Our taxi drivers were wonderful, putting up with us singing and making sure we arrived safely to and from our destination. The food was to die for, and the entertainment... Sensational! The following week we were honoured again to be a charity partner, this time at the Mighty Women Awards where we raised a wonderful amount to help support the families we care for in 2024. Finally to set the year off with a bang we held our first Santa's Grotto and it was a truly magical experience, Santa was fantastic with all the girls and boys, the Grinch was truly Grinchy and the boys and girls in St Mary's Primary had a blast. We are excited to roll into 2024, with fond memories of the year gone by and a jam-packed calendar.

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