Oliver Jeffers Becomes Patron Of Autonomie

Oliver Jeffers Becomes Patron Of Autonomie

Multi-million-selling author and artist Oliver Jeffers best known for his genius picture books has become a Patron of Autonomie.

The announcement of Oliver Jeffers involved with Autonomie comes as the final push gets underway to win £50,000 funds in The People’s Projects needed to open a new centre LILAC House.

Speaking about his new role at Autonomie Oliver Jeffers said: “I am very pleased to be asked to be Patron of Autonomie which I believe can make a big difference to a lot of young people.

“My mum had MS and my dad worked for 27 years in a school for kids with disabilities so you could say I have grown up with a disability.

“I spent many holidays around people who had a wide range of disabilities, so I know first-hand some of the problems that a lot of people have to deal with which often include social inclusion, isolation, various forms of discrimination and a lack of opportunity in the workplace.

“Autonomie empowers these young people so that they can break down these barriers they too often have to face.

“I am very excited about my new role at Autonomie."

Trevor Boyle, Voluntary Co-ordinator at Autonomie said: “We are honoured that Oliver Jeffers has chosen to become a Patron of Autonomie. It is my hope that Oliver’s future work in this field will serve as a catalyst for all and that we are able to achieve the quality of care that these children and young people and their families so richly deserve.

“If you’re not yet a fan of the spellbinding genius of Oliver Jeffers, you know a young person who is.

Jeffers has carved out a hugely successful career as both a writer and illustrator of award-winning picture books that have sold more than seven million copies worldwide, including his 2004 debut How to Catch a Start and the wonderfully titled The Day the Crayons Quit, all annotated with his trademark, handwritten script.

The organisation is calling on local people across Northern Ireland to support them in their bid to win £50,000 to develop a purpose-designed centre after it was announced they were on the shortlist for funds as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘People’s Projects’ awards.

If successful, LILAC House would deliver programmes on building self-confidence, life skills, networking to build friendships and even a chance to try independent living at purpose-designed units on the premises.

Speaking about the shortlist in the ‘People’s Projects’ awards Trevor Boyle, Volunteer Coordinator at Autonomie said: “In order to provide the best possible support for local families we need to develop LILAC House.

“From Belfast LILAC House short for Linked Independent Living and Advice Centre will provide support to children and young people with different disabilities, their families, carers, schools right across Northern Ireland.

“We want to increase the range of services and education provision for young people with additional needs and this funding would mean we are able to develop LILAC House and increase our capacity and number of support programmes that we offer. It would mean so much to so many families.”

Mr Boyle added: “It would be absolutely fantastic if people of Belfast and beyond vote for us.”

The local charity is encouraging its supporting from across the country to vote for Autonomie’s LILAC House project at www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk (Online voters will then be emailed a link that you need to click on to confirm your vote) before voting closes Sunday 13 March at 12noon.

Alternatively, supporters can vote by Freepost. Mark the envelope ‘FREEPOST THE PEOPLE’S PROJECTS’. To be counted, the following details must be clearly written on the postcard: ‘LILAC House’ your name, address and telephone number. For postal votes to be counted send by Thursday 10 March.

For more information on the full range of services offered by Autonomie visit www.autonomie.org.uk