AN awareness tour with a difference began this week as people are being encouraged to share their experiences of autism by sitting on a sofa in the middle of a busy town.

Understand Autism – The Sofa Tour will be in Royal Wootton Bassett tomorrow, after stopping off at Trowbridge, Devizes and Chippenham during this week.

It is estimated that more than half a million people in England have autism.

This is equivalent to more than one per cent of the population and means approximately 2.8 million lives are touched everyday by autism.

Keith Humphries, the Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, said: “This tour gives people a chance to talk openly about autism in a relaxed setting .

“And I’m hoping many people will come and join us.”

Maggie Rae, the corporate director public health, said: “It can be hard to create awareness of autism and this is a unique way to highlight what autism means so we can increase understanding.”

The sofa will be in Boroughfields Shopping Centre in Royal Wootton Bassett between 10am and 2pm tomorrow.