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Llangollen business to give job hope for autistic youths

Published date: 03 December 2013 |
Published by: Kirstie Dolphin
Read more articles by Kirstie Dolphin


 

A FAMILY legacy business is building a new future for young people with autism.

A Llangollen mum and her best friend are launching a business, Brythonium, creating family legacies while providing much needed employment opportunities for young people with autism and learning difficulties.

Dawn Roberts, 54, came up with idea as her daughter Elinor, 18, is autistic and has learning difficulties.

“When you have a child with complex needs, its life changing,” said Dawn.

“Elinor can’t talk and communicates using a lightwriter - a machine which she types what she wants to say and it speaks for her.

“She attends school in Denbigh now, and was previously home schooled, I don’t want her to lose those skills she has.

“I don’t want her to become isolated, sitting at home doing nothing.”

Dawn enlisted the help of Del Roberts-Jones, 63, who she worked with at Wrexham County Borough Council.

Dawn and Del, whose nephew has Asperger Syndrome, started to look into a business where those with autism and learning difficulties could be employed.

Dawn said: “As mother of a young woman with autism, I saw no hope for her adulthood and wanted to try to provide meaningful employment for Elinor and as many of her peers as possible.

“Del and I have started a new business purely with the intention of providing sheltered employment for young people with autism and learning difficulties in the Dee Valley area.”

Dawn said the cards ‘are designed to allow everyone to write down their precious memories and family stories and history’.

She added: “They are a personal way of creating a family legacy as they are handwritten, with no need for complicated research or computers.”

AM Ken Skates said the unusual business – which launched its new website last week – is ‘an amazing concept’.

He added: “I loved this idea as soon as I met Dawn and Del.

“They both come from Llangollen and some of the cards depict fantastic images from the Dee Valley area, so it is certainly a business with a very local flavour.

“They have also identified a lack of employment opportunities for young people with autism and have incorporated that within their business model, which makes a
wonderful idea even better.”

Once the business begins to grow Dawn and Del hope to rent premises in the Llangollen area, where they can set up a workshop and take on paid employees.

“The first time Del and I sat assembling the cards into boxes at home, Elinor came in the room and watched what we were doing,” said Dawn, who sold the first family box set in July 2013.

“She then sat down and began helping us.

“It was incredible and that was the confidence boost we needed. We knew this was something Elinor wanted to be involved in.”

- Brythonium will have a stall at Wrexham’s Christmas market on November 30, December 1, 14 and 15 and will be at St Giles Church, Wrexham on December 12.

- If you would like to get involved, volunteer, offer services or premises to Dawn and Del visit www.brythonium.co.uk or contact Dawn on 07545 150456.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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