art / Culture

An inclusive space for creativity

29 February 2024

Autistic Youth Hub is a relatively new local collective, which launched last summer as a supported space for young adults who self-identify as autistic or similarly neurodivergent. As part of This is Croydon, the collective is hosting free zine-making workshops for their community both in person at OurSpace in Croydon as well as online. Sessions, which take place throughout March, will be led by autistic and queer creatives.

To find out more about Autistic Youth Hub and their upcoming workshops I caught up with three members of the collective who are also leading the sessions, Bea Finch, Leo Ioviero and Skye Baker.

Bea (they/them) is a home-educated student who is formally diagnosed as autistic.
Leo (he/him) is a freelance illustrator, who is autistic.
Skye (she/her) is an illustrator and creative workshop leader, who is neurodivergent.

Croydonist: First off, tell us about the Autistic Youth Hub and how it came about.

Bea, Leo and Skye: We started talking about Youth Hub about 18 months ago as there was nothing out there for autistic young adults without intellectual disability once they left school/college. We wanted a supported social scene and an autistic-majority community around us as we went through further/higher education and into work.

A few of us have been friends for several years and we know how good it has been for us to be able to socialise in autistic-majority spaces with a broad neurodivergent group of peers. We wanted a safe, supported space to talk about topics like activism, identity, relationships, gender and sexuality that have specific meaning for autistic people.

A lot of us are queer and affected by the closure of the Croydon-based youth services from METRO the LGBT+ charity. We did a soft-launch in the summer of 2023 at Croydon Pride so young people knew there was an alternative being developed. Since then we have been building a team, developing our ways of working – we operate as a collective – everything we do is co-produced.

Croydonist: How often does the hub meet?

Bea, Leo and Skye: We’re digital-first and natively online for many reasons, mostly around accessibility and inclusion, so we’re open 24/7. Currently our main activities run on our Discord server which includes spaces to have conversations, opportunities to suggest projects and live sessions on weekday evenings; there’s generally always someone online.

As we head towards the summer we’ll be popping up at events and festivals like South Norwood Community Festival and Croydon Pride and launching our own regular events – social and creative.

Croydonist: What can participants expect from the sessions?

Bea, Leo and Skye: We’re holding in-person and online workshops. We will explain what a zine is and how to make one. There will be free art materials and papers to use plus plain pre-folded zines ready.

Creative workshop facilitators will be on hand to help you develop your ideas and answer any questions. Our workshops are relaxed, 2.5 hours long, you can leave and rejoin when you choose. You’re welcome to come, just watch and listen, and use your resource pack at another time if that’s what you prefer.

We will be encouraging zine-making across visual arts (drawing, collage) and writing (fact and fiction, long-form and poetry) and both analogue and digital methods. (You can find out more in our FAQs).

All materials, resources and snacks are supplied (but you can bring your own allergen-free snacks too). There will be a zine library and chill out area. You are free to move about the space as you need to.

All participants will be posted a pack of materials and resources (sample zines, paper, collage elements, etc). 16th and 26th March are non-speaking, text-only sessions for those who prefer to communicate digitally.

Croydonist: What’s the criteria to participate?

Bea, Leo and Skye: Open to people aged 16+ in and around Croydon who are autistic or similarly neurodivergent (ADHD, AuDHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, etc). You do not need a diagnosis – if you self-identify as neurodivergent, that’s fine. You do not need any experience in zine-making, art or writing. Digital zine-makers: please bring your own tech.


If you cannot make any of our workshop sessions, or prefer not to work in a group setting, you can also order a free self-guided zine-making pack here.

Thank you to Bea, Leo and Skye for chatting with us.

Keep up to date with Autistic Youth Hub on their website and Instagram.

Zine workshop dates and locations


At OurSpace (50 High Street, Croydon, CR0 1YB)

Saturday 9th March – 2pm Book here
Sunday 17th March – 2pm Book here
Thursday 21st March – 6.30pm Book here


On GoogleMeet (links sent after registration)

Sunday 10th March – 2pm Book here
Saturday 16th March – 2pm (text only) Book here
Tuesday 26th March – 2pm (text only) Book here

All images courtesy of Autistic Youth Hub, with zine extracts courtesy of the artists

Posted by Julia

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