THE first ever community drop-in café for people with autism in West London was opened last week.

Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq cut the ribbon to welcome people from across the borough to an initiative which aims to combat loneliness in the autism community.

She was joined by the Rev Sue McCoan and Ealing Broadway councillor Seema Kumar for cake and tea with visitors.

Set up by the London Autism Group charity, the café is open on the first Saturday of each month from 1.30-3.30pm at St Andrew’s Church in Ealing.

Jenny Teuten, of Hanger Hill, is co-leader of the initiative. Her brother Nigel is autistic and was diagnosed in 2012 at the age of 56.

Dr Huq said: “Jenny came to my surgery and she was bursting with enthusiasm for the cause. Autism is not just something that children have.

“She’s been looking after Nigel for a long time. Even in a neuro-diverse world it’s not one size fits all. Even within autism, people’s brains are configured differently.

“We all need more understanding, tolerance and love.”

Charity lead Dr Chris Papadopoulos added: “Autistic people and their families are some of the most isolated, lonely people you’ll come across, so it’s important to create spaces like this where people can feel connected.”

The next session will be at St. Andrew’s in Mount Park Road on Saturday, March 4, 1.30-3.30. It is free, with biscuits, cakes, drinks and sensory toys available. No pre-registration is required.

The ActOne cinema in Acton is also offering a ‘relaxed screenings’ initiative with sensory-friendly film screenings for audiences with additional needs, including autism.