The project creates a pop-up space in a retail setting, to encourage neurodivergent and autistic young people and their families to socialise through gaming and digital projects. Gaming sessions and the Waffling On cafe will be run by autistic / neurodivergent team members with support where needed. The gaming and waffle-making equipment can also be transported in a trailer to set up pop-up events in village halls and community centres around Northumberland. Members of the team will engage with local communities, with quizzes and fun activities that focus on improved awareness of autism and neurodiversity. The team also takes a lead in Northumberland for the national Safe Places scheme (www.safeplaces.org.uk) and will recruit new Safe Place venues across Northumberland. The project is a social enterprise that we hope will lead to paid work. We will rent premises, buy additional gaming equipment, upgrade the Waffling On trailer, and cover transport and volunteer costs.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
This project promotes gaming as a social and accessible activity rather than an isolating and solitary experience. As well as being based at a central location in Northumberland it enables people who live more remotely to take part within their own communities. The young people in the delivery team have lived experience of neurodivergence and autism and are ready to promote positive messages and offer insights and support to customers. They can train and support local venues to join the Safe Places scheme as part of their 'roadshow' delivery approach and all this helps reduce prejudice and promote local community safety. They also have considerable skills in IT, design, customer services, cooking and food hygiene, yet most lack employment, so the project improves their prospects and those of others by becoming established as a social enterprise. The team can help induct new members to the SpLinter Group and its wider range of support and activities and encourage future resilience.
Steps to get it done:
Re arts and culture, the Waffling On Team is keen to see gaming and digital activities more recognised in the arts and culture arena and they are working on producing their own awareness raising video game to demonstrate the creativity involved.
About the space