What is it?
Meet Conor is a new animated video from Resources for Autism, a charity that provides practical services such as play schemes, music and art therapy, and befriending for children and adults with autistic spectrum conditions and their families.
The title character is a young person who has autism. In the video, his mother talks about how the condition has affected him in the past, the voiceover accompanied by a simple animation in shades of black and blue. She describes him throwing the television at the wall, eating only Marmite sandwiches and having to be sedated after he kicked her and pulled her hair from the back seat of the car when he was 12 – after which, she says, she felt "such a failure".
Now he has joined a go-karting club, travels on the bus on his own and goes to live performances thanks to support from Resources for Autism, which she describes as "essential". The video ends by saying that it costs £18 to provide an hour of support to a child like Conor, and a request to donate via the charity’s website.
Who worked on the video?
Meet Conor is the result of a collaboration between Resources for Autism and the animator Daniela Sherer. It was produced by Watering Can Media and funded by the Linden Family Trust, and music was provided by the songwriter Tom Rosenthal.
What’s happening on social media?
As a smaller charity, Resources for Autism doesn’t have a huge social media following but has been working hard to promote the video, which has had more than 50 shares and 35 likes on Facebook so far. The video had more than 550 views on the charity's YouTube channel in the week after it was published, as well as more than 1,000 views on the animator’s channel on Vimeo.
What the charity says
Liza Dresner, director of Resources for Autism, says the campaign was prompted by the size of the waiting list for the charity's services, which currently stands at 3,000 and "just seems to get bigger and bigger".
"You see a lot of videos of charities saying 'this is us doing our work'", she says. "But the impact that autism has on families is enormous, and many are desperate to tell their stories; so we thought that would be more powerful".
Dresner says the charity also aims to challenge perceptions of autism. "People often think autism is to do with extremely intelligent people who are a bit odd, which is an impression they sometimes get from television. But that's not what we see day in, day out".
Third Sector verdict
This is an example of using a beneficiary’s true story to great effect. The number of views the video has received is significant considering that it has been made by a smaller charity, and its strong, heartfelt message will perhaps help to bring the charity’s work to new audiences and grow its supporter base.