Leinster Rugby has announced AsIAm as its latest charity affiliate as part of the charity partner programme for the 2020/21 season.

Established in 2014, AsIAm is Ireland’s national autism charity.

It is estimated that one in 65 people in Ireland are autistic people, this means that there are approximately 41,000 autistic people living in the 12 counties of Leinster and some 163,000 immediate family members.

For the month of April, Leinster Rugby will lend its digital support to AsIAm and its considerable efforts working with and supporting autistic people in our communities.

AsIAm was suggested as a charity affiliate by Energia, Leinster Rugby’s official energy partner.

Speaking to leinsterrugby.ie, AsIAm founder and CEO, Adam Harris, said, “At AsIAm, we are humbled that Energia and Leinster Rugby have chosen us as a charity affiliate for this season.

“This will go a long way in assisting us with our goals in the field of acceptance and inclusion for the autism community in Ireland. One in 65 Irish people are autistic and over 50 per cent of them experience bullying in education, 85 per cent experience unemployment and eight in 10 experience a mental health condition.

“Throughout Covid-19, AsIAm has seen a 280 per cent increase in queries from families. The autism community will need significant support to come through Covid-19 which is why this affiliation is so important at this time.”

Autism was first formally classified in the 1940s and is as a neurodevelopmental condition which means that the way a person communicates, interacts and understands other people and the world, is different to those who do not have the condition.

The partnership with Leinster Rugby for the month ahead is timely as April is also World Autism Month and AsIAm are driving a number of initiatives including the Say Yes to Autism Acceptance campaign.

Leinster Rugby head coach Leo Cullen is an Ambassador for AsIAm and welcoming the partnership said, “We at Leinster Rugby are delighted to have AsIAm as our affiliate partner for the month of April considering it is world autism month.

“I have been fortunate to encounter their CEO, Adam Harris, on a number of occasions and what he has achieved along with all the people in his organisation since its establishment in 2014 is truly inspiring. AsIAm has had a very positive impact on many communities and families all across the country.

“As a club, we would urge supporters to help AsIAm in any way that you can.”

The partnership would not have been possible without the support of Energia and speaking on behalf of Energia, Amy O’Shaughnessy, the Marketing Acquisition and Sponsorship Manager of Energia, said, “We at Energia are delighted to lend our support to AsIAm this month. Their campaigns and initiatives are driving meaningful change for the autism community.

“Together with Leinster Rugby supporters we hope to lend some positive energy to the work they’re doing and help get one step closer to making Ireland the world’s most autism friendly country.”

Like all of the charities selected, AsIAm was selected by Leinster Rugby after a consultation process involving the leadership group of the men, women’s and Academy teams and consultation with our premium sponsors and partners and the Official Leinster Supporters Club.

In addition, two premium partners of Leinster Rugby, Bank of Ireland and BearingPoint, have pledged their support to the charities chosen.

Bank of Ireland has confirmed that its Player of the Month Award donation will now be made to the monthly charity affiliate, rather than the player in question, a move that is also supported by the Leinster Rugby players.

In addition, BearingPoint has also agreed to make a donation to each charity partner chosen by Leinster Rugby in lieu of support normally provided to the club pre-Covid.

For more information, please visit www.AsIAm.ie

Further information about AsIAm and the Leinster Rugby Charity Affiliate Programme:

  • AsIAm is Ireland’s national autism charity
  • AsIAm was founded in 2014 by CEO, Adam Harris
  • It has 14 staff members, half of whom are on the autism spectrum
  • The organisation is committed to supporting Ireland in becoming autism-friendly – that is a society where every autistic person is accepted and included in the community
  • AsIAm carry out work in two key areas: Community Support (advice, guidance, advocacy and capacity building within the autism community and Training and Accreditation (working with businesses, public services and communities to help them become more inclusive)
  • Over the last year, since Covid-19 began, AsIAm have:
    • Provided direct support, guidance and advocacy to over 1,000 families across Ireland Delivered support and information to over 12,000 people across Ireland through AsIAm-SuperValu Community Support Webinars
    • Supported 2,000 people to explain their needs to others using our AsIAm ID card
    • Working in partnership with SuperValu, we have supported over 20,000 families to manage the return to the classroom with our “Bridge Back to School Resource”
    • Worked to educate the Government and communities on the needs of autistic people during the pandemic and advocated for reasonable accommodations to be made and for supports to be provided
  • AsIAm is the fifth charity affiliate announced by Leinster Rugby and will be supported by Leinster Rugby for the month of April
  • Another charity will be announced by Leinster Rugby for May
  • Women’s Aid (November), Debra Ireland (December), numerous local causes supported by Bank of Ireland (January), ALONE (February) and Pieta (March) have received Leinster Rugby support so far
  • The selection process for all 12 charities includes the Leinster Rugby players, Leinster Rugby sponsors and partners and also the Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC)