Councillor Kyle Jamie Eldridge and first time mother, Emma Jayne Shores have launched an independent peer-to-peer initiative aimed at providing a safe and enjoyable space for autistic individuals in Abergavenny. The new group, Abergavenny Spectrum Social (ASS), will host events at various venues around the town, offering a place for autistic people to network and have fun together.

Cllr Eldridge, who represents Park Ward on Abergavenny's Town Council, expressed his commitment to the cause. He said: “In coming out of a very dark place recently, I am ready to devote my energy and skills to giving that independent alternative to autistic people in Abergavenny, in order for them to take their right and just place in the community as their authentic selves.”

Emma Jayne Shores, further highlighted the personal importance of the initiative, saying: “Having been diagnosed as autistic later in life, and becoming a mother for the first time recently, I have benefitted from finding connections with people I can identify with.

“I believe that Kyle and I can offer an inclusive, friendly, and enjoyable social space which has been missing for autistic adults within the Abergavenny community,” Emma Jayne said.

The Abergavenny Spectrum Social is part of the National Autistic Society’s Peer Support Club project, which supports autistic adults in forming and running their own social groups across Wales. This project aims to combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation that affect eight out of ten autistic adults, according to research.

Cllr Eldridge emphasised the benefits of peer support groups, saying: “By setting up or just attending a peer social group, you will be in a safe environment where you can be yourself and meet others with similar interests and life experiences. Feedback from our existing groups shows that attending a social peer support group can increase well-being, reduce feelings of isolation, and increase social engagement.”

The National Autistic Society has a set of resources to support individuals to set up their own peer support groups, which can be accessed at: You can also contact the project team directly at [email protected]

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