Starting the conversation during Neurodiversity Celebration Week


Conversations about how to make Cardiff a more neurodivergent-friendly city began yesterday at a special event at Cardiff City Stadium.

Organised by the Council, and taking place in the global Neurodiversity Celebration Week (March 18 - 24), the event brought together expert keynote speakers, public service partners, other stakeholders and individuals to explore what a neurodivergent-friendly city looks like and how Cardiff can become a city more supportive to neurodivergent people and their families.

Around 1-in-7 people in the UK are neurodivergent, meaning they experience the world more uniquely than others. People with neurodivergent traits and conditions face a range of challenges across our society, including finding employment, increased likelihood of mental health diagnoses, and trouble accessing public services. 

However, neurodivergence brings many strengths and patterns of unique thinking that benefit our communities and workplaces. 

Full Council passed a motion in September 2023 to work towards becoming a more neurodivergent-friendly city and yesterday's event was the start of that journey.

A council spokesperson said: "It is only by working together that we can achieve a Neurodivergent Friendly Cardiff with the goal of increased awareness and empathy towards neurodivergent people across the city, and making Cardiff a place where they are supported to live well.

"Neurodivergent people have massive strengths to be celebrated and harnessed - within workplaces and within society at large so it makes sense that as citizens, organisations and as a  city we work to create the right environments for those who are neurodivergent, so that we can capitalise upon their strengths and support them to overcome the challenges that that they face.

"Neurodivergent Friendly Cardiff will work to ensure that as a city we develop an environment where neurodivergent people are celebrated, supported and of course included. The first step in this was passing a motion to make Cardiff more neurodivergent-friendly at Full Council in September 2023."

Others speakers yesterday included internationally renowned expert within the field of Neurodiversity, Professor Amanda Kirby, Out and proud dyspraxic, actress and comedian, Eleri Morgan, Reader and Director of the Wales Autism Research Centre, Dr Catherine Jones and songwriter and performer, Kizzy Crawford.

The day also featured focus groups and stalls promoting services for those who identify as neurodivergent. 

A spokesperson added: "We are really grateful to all the organisations and members of the public who participated in yesterday's event - which is the start of our Neurodivergent Friendly journey. It's clear we have ashared commitment to working towards a city where neurodivergent individuals can thrive and feel fully included, and that there is wealth of dedication in the city to drive positive change."

Following the event, the next steps will involve mapping the existing support and resources available for neurodivergent individuals within Cardiff, which will pave the way for the development of a city-wide strategy.