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The charity making life better by water

Leeds Waterfront Festival To Host New Neurodiverse-Friendly Event

Leeds Waterfront Festival, which is running through the summer over five different dates, is to host a new neurodiverse-friendly event on Friday 13 August from 11am to 4pm.

Leeds waterfront

In partnership with Leeds Autism Services (LAS), we're excited to announce a new event which takes place at Leeds Dock and Armouries Square.

Our activities

Sam Cresswell, our youth & community events coordinator, said: “It's great to be working in partnership with Leeds Autism Services on the first event of its kind for Leeds Waterfront Festival. We have a wide range of activities on offer for all ages to enjoy, from canoeing to yoga sessions, a scavenger hunt, arts activities, a photography competition and interactive theatre with Rusticus. We will also be joined by mobility charity William Merritt Centre, and the Royal Armouries will be open with indoor exhibits, horse shows and gun demonstrations.”

Sam added: “I'm passionate about helping communities get to know their local canal, especially as we know how spending time by water can boost happiness and help us to relax. With nearly 1.1 million people in our Yorkshire & North East region living within 1km of their local canal, it's a great resource on the doorstep and I hope this event will help open up opportunities to even more people.”

Raising awareness

Danielle Furness, partnership & development officer at Leeds Autism Services, added: “Our charity supports autistic adults and works with families, communities and businesses to promote autism understanding and inclusion. We're delighted to be partnering with Canal & River Trust on an event that we hope will support autistic, learning disabled and neurodiverse people access Leeds Waterfront Festival whilst raising awareness about ways we can help make events and activities more accessible to neurodiverse people.”

Michael Duffy, a member at Leeds Autism Services, said “It's been hard to stay positive at times during the pandemic, but I can't wait to help out at the Waterfront Festival and have some fun. I think it will be a much-needed event.”

The event

To make the event more accessible, there will be ear plugs available on the day, a quiet zone has been created for people who need a bit of time out, there are changing facilities, easy-read signage and information, disabled parking and a drop-off point close to the entrance.

Most events are free of charge. It is advised that you book your preferred activities in advance to secure a place. There will be spaces available on the day, but please try to arrive early to ensure you get a place for everyone taking part, including personal assistants or anyone participating for support.

This event will focus on providing a range of engaging activities to enjoy, there will be opportunities to talk to Canal & River Trust and Leeds Autism Services about their charities, where you can get further information and ways to support.

For more information about this event and to book your place on activities please visit our Evenbrite page.

For details about Leeds Autism Services (LAS) visit:

*Neurodivergent is an umbrella term for a specific set of conditions, including autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and others.


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Last Edited: 10 August 2021

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