PAPER animals created in Bognor Regis are due to be seen by thousands of visitors to a flower festival.
The crocodiles and tortoises made by clients of the Aldingbourne Trust’s Number 73 creative arts studio will help to decorate the popular event at Chichester Cathedral next month.
Visitors to the studio’s open day last week got a sneak peek at the creatures. One of the clients with learning disabilities who made them was Charlene Villiers, 36. She said: “I come here on Fridays and do painting and drawing and help out on reception.
“This is better than our old studio because it’s bigger and it’s easier to get to.”
The open day celebrated the first anniversary of the studio’s opening on Aldwick Road after a move from first-floor premises in the town centre.
Trust chief executive Sue Livett said the switch had been a complete success. “The feedback from the people we support is that they prefer this venue,” she said.
“It’s on a very busy road, it’s on the ground floor, it’s bigger and it’s very much part of the community.
“We’ve got great hopes for it for the next year. We want to really try to link with the people who live around here to find out the skills and abilities they have and how they might like to work with us to make sure people have better lives.
“That’s not just people with learning disabilities, but people in general because this is a really good resource.”
The studio’s prominence has led to some 40 volunteers walking in off the street to offer their help.
The extensive front windows are used to promote the studio’s activities over six days each week. They include an Xbox club, film club, slimming club and over-50s coffee and cake club.
The studio also boasts i-cook facilities and a drop-in centre for information and advice for people with learning disabilities. Also at the open day was the trust’s Support Workers Direct agency which has 55 employees aged from 19 to 72.
They help clients with whatever assistance they need. Manager Julie Williams said: “The ethos of the trust is changing lives and empowering people to live independently. It could helping them to budget, do their shopping, housekeeping and cooking.
“We’ve even got four clients going on holiday to Dorset for a week in June with two support workers. We often go on days out.”
For client Nadia Tourbay, the studio is her destination two days a week. “I’ve been making a Faberge egg for an Easter display. I like painting and drawing and I made a squirrel for our Winter Wonderland display,” she said.