Growing up with autism has created many access barriers for Jason. As he got older, Jason struggled to manage his weight and have the support to understand a healthy balanced lifestyle. From engaging in the Healthy Hearts and Minds project, funded by the PHA Small Grants programme, at the Playtrail, Jason decided to focus on this area as a challenge for self-development. Jason also identified the need for support in order to live a healthy lifestyle whilst trying to maintain a healthy weight.

Jason says:

"The first time I tried to attend a gym and exercise it was struggle. I was unfamiliar with the equipment and had never accessed a gym before. Since joining I've met new friends at the gym. I really enjoy attending the gym and using machines."

Through this project, Jason was supported to access a local gym within his community, where he availed of 1:1 personal training sessions designed specifically to meet his needs. Engaging in this training provided Jason with the knowledge and ability to address his own weight concerns as well as maintain a healthier lifestyle. Over the course of 6 weeks, Jason lost 1 stone in weight.

To this day, Jason remains an active member of the local gym and attends a weekly exercise bootcamp class at the Playtrail.


This programme has provided Jason with the confidence to attend a gym, fulfil his dreams of losing weight and become an active member in his community. The initial support this programme provided helped him break down access barriers to services within his community and he says its provided him with a better outlook in life in terms of his mental health and well-being.

“This has changed my outlook in life. I now exercise a lot more and try to walk every day. I hope my story inspires other young people with autism to show them that, with the correct support, barriers can be broken down and we all have a place in our community.”