Orbis Education and Care learners get switched on for Christmas lights fundraiser initiative

Learners and staff combined their festive spirit with the entrepreneurial to turn a Christmas lights switch on event in Barry to the benefit of pupils at Orbis Education and Care.

Students from the Cardiff-based specialist care and education provider raised £320 for its enterprise fund, set up to promote entrepreneurialism among pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at its Cardiff Ty Coryton site, through the sale of homemade decorations.

The decorations were made using non-traditional materials such as buttons, socks and pom poms in the run up to the event, encouraging students to work together and get their creative juices flowing.

Students and staff then sold the creations at the festive event in Barry, which saw Gavin and Stacey star Ruth Jones turn on the town’s Christmas lights for 2019.

Kelly Price, Head of Education at Ty Coryton, said: “The school council discussed what they wanted to make for the Christmas stall, creating pom pom puddings, reindeer food, wreaths and small decorations, before deciding on pricing.

“The students were absolutely delighted to then be able to turn the fruits of their labour into real life sales at the Barry Christmas lights switch on event, where opportunities to develop their vocational skills can often otherwise be limited for our learners.”

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 creative sessions run through the vocational department led by Laura Baggus and Laura Chapman, these sessions are just one of the many initiatives rolled out year-round to support learners in developing the strengths, interests and aspirations they need to become as independent and fulfilled in life as possible.

Kelly said: “The funds we raised at the Barry switch on event will now go towards further enterprise projects throughout 2020 and ultimately support our learners in living active lives and developing the coping strategies they need to overcome the challenges they face.”

“We are grateful to the community of Barry for welcoming us to their switch on event and whole-heartedly supporting our learners in their entrepreneurial endeavours by stopping by at the Orbis Education and Care stall.”