Young Access in the spotlight

Young Access partners: Lena Curran, Kate Mackley and Lauren Mackley are looking forward to the exhibition at the Creative Arts Gallery.

Young Access partners: Lena Curran, Kate Mackley and Lauren Mackley are looking forward to the exhibition at the Creative Arts Gallery.

Art created by youth with disabilities from Armidale, Gunnedah, Narrabri, Tamworth, Moree and Glen Innes will be showcased at the Creative Arts Gallery in Gunnedah from Saturday, with plans to tour the region.

The opening on December 3 coincides with International Day of People with Disability and will feature jigsaw cubes decorated by the youth at workshops.

Young Access began in Gunnedah in October with art and photography workshops run throughout October and November to give youth the opportunity to learn skills and to encourage creativity.

The local group is the result of a partnership between Gunnedah Community College, Gunnedah GoCo and Gunnedah Shire Council.

Council’s cultural officer Lauren Mackley said jigsaw cubes workshops were funded by Arts NSW and were chosen to “represent the unity between people with disabilities and the art sector”.

Among the youth who attended the workshops was Harrison Neader whose step-father Chris Frend said it had been a “positive experience” for him.

“He enjoyed the stimulation of other people; the social interaction,” Chris said.

“It’s a great opportunity for involved to explore new things and perhaps develop new skills and explore new talents.”

There are plans to continue workshops next year following good feedback from carers and parents.

The concept of Young Access was kick-started by former college coordinator Nicolette Bronkhorst after a conversation with Michelle Collins who was searching for activities for her autistic son, Ryley. 

“I think it’s something that was born from a casual conversation and it was definitely needed in the community and the response is evidence of that,” Nicolette said.

“We want to give it the growth in the right direction,” she said.

The college’s new coordinator, Lena Curran, is keen to get behind the venture and ensure that the youth are represented in planning meetings.

Expressions of interest for workshops in term one, 2017 can be received by the college on 6742 5630.

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