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AE members visit initiatives fostering inclusion and employment in La Spezia

On the occasion of Autism-Europe (AE) Annual General Assembly (AGA) on May 4th 2019, around 40 individual members and representatives of member associations visited the Sant’Anna Hostel and Luna Blu, two initiatives in the hospitality sector fostering social inclusion and employment for autistic persons in La Spezia, Italy.

Both facilities are part of the AUT AUT (Autonomia Autismo) project, supported by the homonymous Foundation AUT AUT. Established in 2017 by the Carispezia Foundation, A.G.A.P.O. Onlus, and AE’s member Fondazione Il Domani dell’Autismo,  AUT AUT was created to foster the full inclusion of young autistic people and their families by giving them the opportunity to work in the hospitality sector, in the touristic region of La Spezia.

AUT AUT is a large training and employment project for young autistic adults. The project aims at facilitating their transition to the labour market by giving them access to vocational training in the community.  The accompanying housing programme aims at developing their individual  autonomy.

Located in the city of La Spezia and inaugurated on May 3 2019 in the presence of AE’s Director, Aurélie Baranger, Luna Blu is a modern structure that offers hospitality to tourists, including people on the autism spectrum and their families. It is divided into three floors intended for different purposes: tourist accommodation, restaurant and apartments to develop the autonomy of young autistic people and prepare them to live as independently as possible. There is also an area dedicated to vocational training and laboratories for the production of pasta and preserves as well as 30 covered parking spaces and hanging gardens. It also counts with the support of educators, as well as the necessary staff and volunteers of the non-profit organizations involved. Luna Blu is an addition to the Sant’Anna Hostel, located on La Spezia hills and created in 2016, also visited by AE’s members.

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Baranger congratulated the Foundation for this wonderful initiative at the Luna Blu’s inauguration.

“It is something that fully embodies AE’s values of inclusion and providing access to inclusive work in the community. This weekend we will be here with our members from 38 countries to learn from this initiative, hoping that these good practices can inspire other countries”, she said.