A Bootle charity has raised over six figures through their latest walking fundraiser.

Autism Initiatives has more than exceeded its2021 expectations after the 4thannual ‘Walk for Autism’ campaign exploded into life.

The virtual walking event has currently raised around £131,000 in just five weeks, with the event taking place on March 26.

Being in their fourth year of operation, fundraising manager Liz Oakley expected significant growth each year, but nothing could prepare her for the exponential burst in support for her charity.

“This year, we seem to have captured the timing just right,” she said.

“We have all speculated for hours about [how fundraising has gone so well]. It is really difficult to say why it has worked so well this year.

“We do expect growth year on year. We want it to go in this direction, but we are never sure how it is going to go.”

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Despite a global pandemic and countless lockdowns across the UK, the Merseyside charity managed to keep their spirits high, with optimism as the driving force behind their success in the last three months.

“Perhaps it was a little bit of positivity. [Something] to look forward to,” added Oakley.

“People signing up with the possibility of being able to get out and about in the Spring, and it seems possible to get out there with friends and families.”

The virtual nature of the ‘Walk for Autism’ event played into the hands of the local charity this year, allowing them to continue as planned, while avoid breaking any restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

Those taking part in the eight-day, 80,000 step event are encouraged to walk solo or as a team via video call.

“We talk about going solo, walk at your own pace, in your own time. If you want to walk as a team, you do it virtually,” explained Liz.

“If you want to walk with your sister in Edinburgh, give her a call and you can do your steps together that way.”

The success and ethos of the campaign spreads far and wide, yet another pillar of its new year success.

“One of the most incredible things about this campaign is that is UK wide. It really has captured so many different people’s imagination from around the country.

“There is no real hotspot where people are signing up.”

Autism Initiatives’ ‘Walk for Autism’ begins on March 26 and finishes on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day.

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