Lookers helps charity drive home awareness of autism issues

Lookers is helping an autism charity get noticed in the North East after creating a bespoke bright yellow Ford Mustang to help it spread the word.
 
Richard Smith, founder of Awesometistic, is now the proud owner of the head-turning muscle car after he approached Lookers Ford Gateshead to help him increase awareness of the charity.

Awesometistic, which Richard set up last year, provides support to those living with autism in all its forms, as well as advise and educate the wider community about the condition.
 
Always eager to help members of its local community, Lookers Ford Gateshead was able to provide the classic American car to Richard at a fantastic rate, as well as take care of striping it up with the charity’s logo.
 
The 35 year old, who lives with autism himself, is now making an impression right across the North East, particularly when he visits schools to talk to children about the condition.
 
Richard said: “The idea behind the Mustang was that it’s a very recognisable car, with the yellow model making it even more recognisable and giving it the look of Bumblebee from Transformers, which the kids love. Pulling up in a car like this helps the children to realise that just because someone has autism, it doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the finer things in life and they can achieve anything they put their minds to.
 
“I want children to feel empowered and to see autism as a unique part of who they are rather than something to be ashamed of. Living with autism can be a struggle at times, but it can also lead to some really magical moments and this is the message I want to pass on.”
 
Richard started the charity after struggling with autism at a young age, with his undiagnosed condition leading to a number of unhappy experiences within the foster care system. Eventually diagnosed at the age of 33 and with a better understanding of himself and his childhood, Richard vowed to help others struggling in similar circumstances.
 
As part of his long-term plans, Richard hopes to continue working alongside businesses in the local community to help establish a hub for the charity which will offer a wide range of activities and support groups.
 
“I have some really good events planned but there’s so much more that I want to do once I secure additional business support,” Richard says. “Lookers Gateshead have been amazing. I was so grateful that they took the time to listen to my vision for the Mustang and help make it a reality.  Without their help, this dream would not have been fulfilled, so I would like to say a heartfelt thank you.”

Peter Waugh, General Manager at Lookers Ford Gateshead, said: "We were delighted to be given the chance to support Richard and his fantastic charity Awesometistic, which is doing some great work in our community. Autism is such a multifaceted condition, affecting people in a variety of different ways. It’s a much-misunderstood subject for many people, which makes work like Richard’s all the more vital. People certainly won’t miss him now when he’s driving by in his yellow Mustang!"

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