Garden School pulling out all stops to raise awareness of autism ahead of Hackney Half Marathon

Amy Yamaguchi, Martin Kiel, Lalage Harris and Gemma Courtney are just four of the teachers at The Ga

Amy Yamaguchi, Martin Kiel, Lalage Harris and Gemma Courtney are just four of the teachers at The Garden School who are running the Hackney Half Marathon. - Credit: Archant

A Stoke Newington school for children with autism is pulling out all the stops to raise awareness about the condition that affects its students.

Having been successful with an application for charity status, the Garden School has named its cause “all about autism” and is on the lookout for a patron to help drum up some extra cash.

The likes of Idris Elba and David Beckham have already been approached, with the school looking for high-profile figures with strong links to Hackney or supporting children with autism.

Another key aim of the school’s fundraising is to provide out-of-hours care for its students during the school holidays, with staff and parents clambering to help out.

On Saturday parents and carers will be finishing a sponsored 5km walk at Butterfield Park – opposite the school – before enjoying a well-earned picnic.

And a team of school employees and governors – many of whom confess to being beginners – is running the Hackney Half Marathon on April 30.

The school’s admin and finance manager Gemma Courtney, who is one of the staff members taking on the half marathon, said: “Due to the high needs of our children, many families find it difficult to find appropriate provision after school and during school holidays for their children to attend.

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“The money that is raised through our fundraising campaign will be used to set up a highly specialised and free after-school club, but we need all the help we can get to reach our target.”

As part of autism awareness week – at the end of March – the school took part in activities including wearing blue for the day, raising more than £1,000 through a raffle and manning a stall for a day at the Hackney Learning Trust in Reading Lane.

The school has raised almost £4,000 towards the holiday club, but needs to bag a total £7,500 to make the project a reality.

To find all the fundraising pages for the various events going on at the school, visit the dedicated blog at