Cheshire Autism Practical Support (ChAPS) hosted its first art exhibition entitled ‘Awakenings’ last week in Northwich to celebrate the opening of its new training centre and Autism Awareness Month during April.
The launch reception was attended by the Mayor of Northwich, Councillor Kevin Rimmer, Graham Evans MP and police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane, as well as children, parents and staff from ChAPS.
Paintings, environmental art, drawings, craft and sculptures were displayed showcasing the talent of the charity’s members.
The concept of ‘Awakenings’ was to allow children and adults on the spectrum to express themselves through art and a chance to show off what they have created to guests and the public. Members from across Cheshire, including Chester, Blacon, Ellesmere Port, Northwich and Winsford took part.
The exhibition was open to the public and ran over the weekend to helped raise awareness of the autism and the charity.
The mayor said: “After speaking to some of the families, I heard how important ChAPS is in their lives and that of their sons and daughters.
“The charity is an extension to their families with regard to the support they offer. The excellent artworks were very thought provoking. It was a privilege for me to share this truly wonderful occasion”.
Jo Garner, founder and managing director of ChAPS said: “Some of our children struggle and this whole experience reinforces positive actions and has encouraged our children.
“We were thrilled to have the support from our noted guests, giving them the opportunity to see the capabilities and the direct impact of ChAPS.”
Sara Helsby from OSSME, (Outreach Support Services for Mainstream Education and Employment) Autism Initiatives, started ChAPS along with Jo, seven years ago, added: “I am very proud to see the charity that I helped to start, has grown and developed from an organisation that held a couple of monthly coffee evenings to a charity that now holds over 70 activities a month.
“The organisation that I now work for has been commissioned by ChAPS to provide Parental / Carer Training for those supporting people on the autistic spectrum, and Independence and Living Skills for adults on the spectrum.
“This will be the start of a long and positive relationship for ChAPS, OSSME and those that will now benefit from this joint venture”.
The charity’s offices are in Runcorn and training facility at Northwich Business Centre, will be used to run workshops, training and activities.
For more information about the charity, the support, training and workshops, and activities offered for children, young people and adults visit www.cheshireautism.org.uk .