What happened to Autistic Community Hub?

As of today, we’ve got a new name. We are A Collective.

Yes (with minimal funding and a volunteer team) a full rebrand probably seems like a dumb idea. Or an indulgence.

This is neither. This is confirmation and celebration of all that we’ve achieved, how much we’ve learned and how much clearer we now are on where we’re headed.

A long time ago (or so it feels), we wanted to be called a ‘community hub’ and in lower case terms we weren’t that wrong.

We are growing towards becoming a place (virtual and physical) where our community can come together. In mutual understanding, care and peer support; but also in fun and celebration.

But upper case Community Hub has strategic and structural meaning, specifically in Croydon, and this is not what we are. We are more than that.

As autistic people, we live in a world where many things are assumed about us before we can share our personal experience and ways of being. The word ‘autistic’ or worse the phrase “has autism”, takes precedence over the individual; it’s assumed that if you know the word, you know the person: this is never the case.

It’s felt a little ironic that our name has come back to bite us in a similar way. Everyone knows what a Community Hub is and does and we can’t explain our unique selves past those assumptions… and “but you are not a Community Hub” echoes “but you don’t look autistic” a little too much.

These past months have been a wonderful journey through community creation, early co-production and learning about impact. Understanding our why and our how. We’re not a community hub and we don’t aspire to be.

We are a collective. A group of individuals who’ve decided to come together to make stuff, make a difference, make a change. We don’t have service users, everything we do is “by us for us”.

So, in summary: we’re now called A Collective. Emphasis on the A. The A represents us all, in our varied Autistic, AuDHD and ADHD fabulousness.

We are Ambassadors for positive conversations around neurodivergence as difference not deficit. Our work is centred around equitable Access, individual Autonomy & self Advocacy.

There’s no further definition in our name as this is a promise that we will continually evolve to meet the emerging needs and priorities of our community.