TalkTalk and Ambitious about Autism are teaming up to raise awareness and support for children and young people with autism.

From 10th – 20th September, over 100 TalkTalk colleagues will be taking to the saddles in our Static Bike Ride Challenge and racing a staggering 718 miles from London to Scotland. The fundraisers will be split into eight teams based at our sites in London, Manchester and the Isle of Stornoway where they’ll pedal the length of the UK.

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. They provide pioneering education services, raise awareness and understanding, as well as campaign for change. The funds raised will make a real difference to families across the country. Research shows us that the lack of support for people with autism costs society £32 billion every year*. With the right support and opportunities, we can make a real change.

We’ve been speaking to Dean Burdon, TalkTalk’s Customer Service Director, about the Static Bike Ride Challenge – he explains how the challenge came about and his special connection with Ambitious about Autism:

What’s your connection to Ambitious about Ambition?

My son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome a few years ago. During that time, I found myself struggling to find useful information or guidance about this form of autism. The diagnosis process was long winded – and at the end of it, as a parent you feel cast out with some paperwork but little in the way of knowledge. Ambitious about Autism’s support materials were really helpful and their community also helped to educate me about the diagnosis. The charity also provided a fantastic support network where I was able to speak to other parents in a similar situation. 

Why did you decide to organise the Static Bike Challenge?

I wanted to create something that everyone at TalkTalk could get involved with and raise more awareness about autism in children and adults.

How did you get other people at TalkTalk involved?

That was the easy bit! TalkTalk’ers love two things… a challenge and to give something back to the community. Autism affects 1 in 100 people across the UK ** and it touches so many people’s lives. Many of us at TalkTalk are friends or relatives with someone on the autistic spectrum – and, we’ve all been through the same process. The tricky task has been trying to contain the size of the event and the number of riders taking part!

How much are you aiming to raise?

We’re aiming to raise £5,000 - anything higher than that would be amazing. Generating awareness for Ambitious about Autism and support for those on the autistic spectrum is also really important to us.

Have you helped to organise any other fundraising events for Ambitious about Autism?

TalkTalk host a charity auction called Night of Ambition every year which I always attend. It’s a huge event that raises life changing sums of money for the charity. This year’s event will be themed around Ambitious about Autism’s new "We Need an Education" campaign to stimulate the debate on a number of key issues around autism and education.

TalkTalk has been a long-standing charity partner of Ambitious about Autism since 2006 and together we’ve raised more than £3.5 million through brilliant fundraising initiatives such as these.

If you’d like to donate to the Static Bike Ride Challenge, then please click here.

For more information contact csr@talktalkplc.com.

Notes

* The Journal of the American Medical Association Paediatrics (2014)

** The NHS Information Centre - Community and Mental Health Team (2012)