Superstar Arts has come a long way since the launch five years ago and members are hoping its expansion will continue.
Now operating six days a week in Worthing, the not-for-profit community interest company is committed to delivering high quality, meaningful creative projects for young people and adults with learning disabilities.
Thoughts for the future include applying for charity status and finding more outlets to sell members’ homemade creations, including beautiful cards, notepads and colouring books.
Former teachers Joanne Telling and Joanne Sullivan started the company with the aim of inclusion and to always give a meaningful, high-quality, positive experience.
Joanne Sullivan said: “People with disabilities really enjoy art and making things. There was nothing like this in Worthing, so we took a leap of faith and found there was so much enthusiasm for it.”
Anyone aged 18 and over with a learning disability in the Worthing area can attend Superstar Arts. Some people are referred by social services, some people pay using their own budgets and some are funded by family.
Fi Butcher, one of the instructors, said: “It is very much led by them. It gives them the confidence to try and if they fail, it doesn’t matter in the least, we can move on.
“They have so much fun, that is the joy of it.”
The various workshops, held at West Worthing Baptist Church and Heene Community Centre, include card making, ceramics, art, cooking and singing. There is also a Tuesday community group which is just starting work on creating a garden at St Paul’s Worthing.
Cloe, who has two types of epilepsy, said: “I absolutely enjoy it. They know all our needs. I have been to other places and never felt like a proper person but here, you can be yourself.”
Another member, Nancy, said the choir had really boosted her confidence. She is even happy to sing solos in front of a large audience now.
Fi and Cloe are working together to build links in the community, including finding places where the Superstar Arts products can be sold.
Places are priced to be affordable, so the fees received are not full-cost recovery and the CIC has to raise around £20,000 a year to cover the costs.
They also want to raise money for a new minibus, so they can continue with the holidays and outings members so enjoy.
Visit www.superstararts.com for more information.