welsh business news autism awareness week

Young people in Wales have been celebrating World Autism Awareness Week the Welsh way with a visit from Valleys artist Nathan Wyburn – and a special appearance from Tom-ato Jones.

Learners at Orbis Education and Care created a portrait of the legendary Welsh singer out of tomato sauce during a one-off creative session with the celebrated portrait artist at the UK care provider’s headquarters in Cardiff.

Visiting residents from Orbis sites across Wales joined the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist for an ‘art for all’ session where those taking part were encouraged to explore their artistic side regardless of ability or access to traditional art materials.

Students from Orbis sites at Ty Coryton in Cardiff, Ty Bronllys near Brecon, Summergil House at Presteigne and Dan y Coed in Swansea joined forces during a special visit arranged by the care provider’s Occupational Therapy team as part of wider World Autism Awareness Week 2019 activity.

Lucy Pottinger, Director of Education at Orbis, said:

“As well as meeting Nathan, our learners enjoyed a structured and fun learning activity, practiced their working together skills and were able to put into practice the things they had learned.

“At the heart of this activity also lies the point that art is one of the things in life which really is accessible for all – which is in turn an important part of World Autism Awareness Week.”

“As Wales’ largest independent provider of care and education services for those with a diagnosis of autism, supporting the creation of a world that works for autistic people everywhere is a priority for Orbis which has our focus all year-round,” Lucy added.

Nathan is a Fine Art graduate specialising in creating iconic celebrity portraits and ‘pop culture’ imagery with non-traditional mediums including Marmite, sugar, chocolate, baked beans and more.

The Ebbw Vale artist rose to prominence on Britain’s Got Talent with his toast-based portrait of judge Michael McIntyre, and has since won praise from Good Morning America, Blue Peter, The Guardian and more.

Lucy said:

“We are hugely grateful to Nathan for taking time out of his busy schedule to spend time with our learners and support them in exploring their creative side, whilst having great fun at the same time.”

“Those of us working to support adults and children day in day out are seeing first-hand that supporting those with a diagnosis of autism to live as normal a life as possible is the key to achieving those targets set out by World Autism Awareness Week, and similar events globally.”

“Art is just one of the many ways we are working to bring the outside world in to Orbis and support our learners through holistic solutions whilst promoting a positive behavioural support model across all of our residential and school environments,” Lucy added.

Orbis Education and Care runs 16 schools, residential homes and facilities for children and adults in England and Wales which support people with complex needs associated with autism. The company now employs around 600 people.