FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Councillor Elin Walker Jones of Cyngor Gwynedd Council has been shortlisted under the Social Driver category for the 2nd Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises UK-based politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. The Councillor is nominated for championing the cause of people with autism in the county.
With 25 years’ experience of working as a clinical psychologist specialising in the field, Cllr Jones was chosen by Gwynedd Council in 2012 to ensure better services and support for people with autism and their families and to improve understanding of the condition. Autism is a disability which affects a person’s ability to communicate and make sense of the world around them. With 65% of the population speaking Welsh, language choice in the county is fundamentally important and brings an added level of difficulty for those with autism. Councillor Jones is keen to highlight the importance of offering diagnosis, treatment and adequate support to people with autism and their families through the medium of either Welsh or English.
Cllr Jones, who represents the Glyder ward in Bangor, said: “We are leaders in the way we provide services for children and adults with autism through the medium of Welsh - which of course is the first language of many of those with whom we work. As part of my new role, one of my aims is to increase access to bilingual services and raise awareness of the need for them.”
As the champion of autism, Cllr Jones has been helping autistic individuals and their families obtain access to services out of reach to them to enable them to live as independently as possible. She has also drawn attention within different Council departments to how autism affects all aspects of an individual’s life. Her belief is that with the appropriate support, people who have autism will have a lot to offer to society but such services have been slow to develop. Cllr Jones is currently working with the Autism and Asperger Group is bridge between councils and local communities affected by autism.
Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “The award illustrates that we do have government representatives that actively work on meeting the people’s needs and we must focus on bringing more positive role models into society and diminish negative news - that is the grassroot diplomacy way”.
Join Cllr Elin Walker Jones and other government nominees at The Mayfair Hotel, London on Thursday 15th May 2014 where the awards ceremony will be hosted by TV Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos. For ticket information please visit: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/awards.