Prior’s Court’s outgoing Chief Executive Officer was joined by young people with complex autism to finish his epic fundraising challenge.

Across four days and 60 miles, Mike Robinson walked along the Kennet & Avon Canal from Bath to Newbury, all in aid of Prior’s Court’s Performing Arts Centre appeal.

The walk was Mike’s farewell after eight years as CEO of the Hermitage-based charity for young people with complex autism.

Fittingly, late on Friday, 30 June a group of six young people supported by Prior’s Court and staff members cheered Mike past the finish line in Victoria Park, Newbury.

a man dressed in a white t-shirt walks under a bridge next to a canal. his arms are raised in celebration

Mike has smashed his fundraising target of £5,000. 

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Mike said: “I do enjoy a good walk but the scale of this challenge was something else and in humid, sticky weather too.

“But what kept me going was the incredible young people at Prior’s Court, their families and their staff members – thinking about these amazing people and receiving supportive messages along the way gave me a boost when I needed them most.

“Being Chief Executive of Prior’s Court has been the most rewarding job of my career and this challenge, and in particular finishing it alongside an incredible group of young people, truly topped it off.”

Mike is fundraising for Prior’s Court’s Performing Arts Centre appeal, which will feature adapted facilities to support young people with complex autism to access opportunities in music, dance and drama and the life-enriching benefits this provides.

Individuals with autism face many barriers to accessing the arts – from light and noise sensitivities to understanding of social rules – and one aim of the centre is to mimic theatre environments to prepare young people to access arts venues in the community successfully. This is in addition to having the opportunity day-to-day to express themselves creatively in a dedicated, bespoke space.

Mike’s Hike was also a team effort as staff and supporters of Prior’s Court were invited to “Hike with Mike” and clock up 60 miles cumulatively across June.

Teams have raised closed to £500 for this appeal, including a huge amount raised by staff from the Newbury office of telecommunications company Gamma.

Mike added:

A huge thank you to everyone who has made a donation to the fundraiser and a thank you to those teams who “hiked with Mike” to show their support for the work of Prior’s Court.

Find out more about our Performing Arts Centre appeal