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Ilkley Carnival announces autism support charity AWARE as 2024 primary beneficiary

Ilkley Carnival has announced its 2024 primary beneficiary as parent-run autism support group, AWARE.

Ilkley Carnival has announced its 2024 primary beneficiary as parent-run autism support group, AWARE.

With more than 20 applications and a shortlist of three organisations invited to meet the Ilkley Carnival committee this week, AWARE – Airedale and Wharfedale Autism Resource - was selected for its bid to fund a residential trip to build the confidence of young people by spending time away from their families in a safe, non-judgemental environment.

AWARE Family Support Manager Margaret Nash, said the charity, which was formed in 1999 and now has more than 1,000 members, offers family support where no other organisation can.

She said: “More than 700,000 families in Britain are affected by autism and figures show that the current rate of autism in the UK is more than one in 100 people. Around one third of our members are from the Ilkley area and we specialise in offering parent to parent support and in providing activities, events and environments where children and young people can socialise, learn, develop and importantly, not be judged by others.

“Many young people slip through the autism net which means they and their parents can experience real challenges in mainstream education and society. Those who need additional support may not qualify for an Education, Health and Care Plan in their school so we work hard to fill those gaps while offering advice, support and a sense of community and understanding for parents.”

Ilkley Carnival is a historic local event with May bank holiday celebrations held in the town for over a century. Since 2012 alone, Ilkley Carnival has distributed more than £125k from its profits to local charities and good causes, reflecting its values of fundraising through volunteering and community spirit.

This year, Ilkley Carnival raised just over £24k for local good causes thanks to the support and involvement of all corners of the community from businesses and sponsors, organisations such as Ilkley BID and the enthusiasm and creativity of local schools and groups.

Chair, Andrew Stacey, said: “A range of local organisations and groups benefitted from this year’s profits including Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society and Ben Rhydding Scouts and Guides. For 2024, we are returning to our primary beneficiary model and awarding 50% of the profits from our May 6 event to AWARE to support their incredible work offering regular events, meet ups and clubs for families experiencing life with autism, from pre-diagnosis to long term support.

“It’s always an incredibly difficult to select a primary beneficiary from so many worthy good causes but the process itself is invaluable in connecting our volunteers with the many volunteers in our community and facilitating the new and evolving partnerships we have with so many organisations.”

He added: “The more successful Ilkley Carnival is, whether through business sponsorship or simply buying tickets for the day, the more help we can give to the good causes who are firmly on our radar. Every organisation that offers volunteers to help the carnival run smoothly receives a donation from our final profits and so together, we ensure the continuation of an event which is growing in size, reputation and value to our community.”

If you would like to join the Ilkley Carnival committee, volunteer to help on the day or sponsor the 2024 event, please contact Andrew Stacey directly on

For more information on Ilkley Carnival visit the website on


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