Carmel hosts artists with autism exhibition

May 8, 2018 by Claire de Franck
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Perth’s Carmel School has hosted an art exhibition showcasing the work of the Really Useful Recyclers, a unique enterprise of two young men with Autism.

Del Smith, Courtney Smith, Joshua Flintoff, Deb Flintoff and the Hon Stephen Dawson MLC, Minister for Environment and Disability Services

Joshua Flintoff (21) and Courtney Smith (21), committed to producing inspiring PaperArt products from recycled used and unsold newspapers.

The exhibition, which was officially opened by the State Minister for Environment and Disability Services Stephen Dawson MLC,  gave visitors the opportunity to view and purchase from, the vast array of work that ranges from jewellery and wall art to decorative vases, platters and mirrors.

The old adage ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and now Reinvent’ has been utilised in the most positive way to provide both Josh and Courtney with much appreciated and valued roles in both their local and the wider community.

With limited employment opportunities for young adults with a disability, recycling in the community one newspaper at a time has enabled Josh and Courtney, both on the autism spectrum, to grow and evolve with a role tailored to suit their very specific skill set and range of interests.

Stephen Dawson said: “The Really Useful Recyclers is a fantastic initiative that has grown from an idea to become a unique small business enterprise driven by the passion of Josh and Courtney and their families and friends.

As the Minister for Disability Services, creating valued and meaningful employment for people with disability and helping people gain a strong sense of purpose and pride are key priorities for me.

Equally important are messages that encourage us to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

Events such as this provide an excellent opportunity for the community to engage in important conversations regarding inclusive employment, and innovative solutions to target recycling and reuse, particularly for paper.”

Simon Millman MLA, Member for Mount Lawley said: “Really Useful Recyclers is innovative and worthwhile and tackles one of our great modern challenges – protecting our environment.

“I commend Joshua and Courtney on their fantastic work at a time when being environmentally friendly has never been so important.

“Thank you to Carmel School and the Really Useful Recyclers for teaming up to bring us this inspirational exhibition.”

Principal Shula Lazar, Carmel School, echoed their thoughts saying: “Carmel School was honoured to host this exhibition showcasing the inspiring and unique work of the Really

Useful Recyclers. It demonstrated what a vibrant, positive and meaningful contribution Joshua and Courtney are making to society, one they will continue to make as they go forward with their lives, and it is ultimately what we wish for all of our young adults as they grow and go out into the wider world.”

Deb Flintoff, speaking on behalf of the Really Useful Recyclers said:  “We are incredibly grateful to the Carmel School community for inviting Josh and Courtney to exhibit their gorgeous handmade Recycled PaperArt collection.  We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to bring together the community, our families and friends to share in this next chapter of our vision for Josh and Courtney to live a meaningful and productive life, doing what they are inspired by and enjoy – ‘recycling in the community one newspaper at a time and being useful’.’

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