Group celebrates a great first year

By Geoff Berkeley Friday 14 December 2012 Updated: 17/12 15:57

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Buy photos » Worcester Mayor Roger Berry and mayoress Gill Berry join pyschcologist Bill Say, Julie Micklewright, secretary of ASPIE, and trustee John Micklewright, in celebrating a successful first year for the group. Picture by Marcus Mingins 4812029MMR Order this picture at

MEMBERS of a group in Worcester which supports adults with Asperger's Syndrome are celebrating a memorable first year which has seen it move into a new home and secure charity status.

ASPIE was founded last year by accountant Sarah Micklewright, 37, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s when she was 23.

The group, which meet every Wednesday, was set up to provide a safe environment where people with the syndrome feel accepted and encouraged, while enjoying discussions, games and confidence-building activities.

ASPIE has gone from strength to strength, gaining charity status after just four months before moving from Rutland House on The Tything into its new home on Sansome Walk in April.

Asperger's is a form of autism which can affect the way people are able to socialise and communicate with others.

People with the syndrome are often very intelligent but their senses can also be affected by the condition.

The group has seen a steady influx of members with about three new people joining every week, including some that come from as far afield as Coventry and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Its growth has largely been down to its strong links with organisations such as the University of Worcester, Mental Health Action, Worcester Volunteer Centre and Onside Advocacy, which provide training, back to work skills and guide them towards a healthier, socially active and more inclusive lifestyle.

They have also benefited from seminars run by Professor Tony Attwood and Australian psychologist Bill Say.

Julie Micklewright, secretary at ASPIE, said the group celebrated its first anniversary with a cruise along the River Severn.

"Considering we are so young I think we have done really well," she said.

"We have got one young man who lives in Kidderminster who has now got two volunteering jobs in Worcester, so his life has now blossomed because of what we were able to show him."

"We are about self-help and motivation so they can come somewhere where they feel welcome and accepted. They can drop the mask and feel comfortable."

For more information on ASPIE email

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