Out of the House and Into Film and Cooking
Lewis, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2, but never received support or further intervention, joined a Space2 project at aged 17 after his mum encouraged him to get involved. She felt along with his autism he also had severe learning difficulties and at the time was very quiet, lacked confidence and hated travelling by public transport.Initially his mum dropped him off and picked him up at every session.This left him feeling quite isolated and without the level of independence he might have liked.
In 2011, Lewis joined Space2’s young people’s project East Arts Feast, making films in Seacroft and was hooked.He loved the film-making process and learnt a huge amount of skills, gaining a Bronze Arts Award, as well as meeting new people and becoming firm friends with fellow participant, James. After his Arts Awards presentation he said “that is the first time I have ever got up and spoken alone in front of a group of people – I can’t believe I just did that!”His confidence just grew and grew and he began enjoying acting in front of the camera as much as learning new skills behind the camera.
In the following year he actively sought new opportunities and took part in a number of Space2 projects including film-making at Yorkshire Dance to promote Yorkshire Dance Youth, a Lantern Parade in Seacroft to encourage local people to use a newly built local nature trail and attended Light Night in the City Centre. He also started college travelling independently across the City.The highlight though was attending the Owl Awards for young film-makers at the Town Hall, hosted by the Lord Mayor.
Last summer he joined a young people’s film and cookery course over the summer holidays and this triggered Lewis to start cooking at home, using some of the healthy recipes he’d learnt.As cooking and healthy lifestyles are a key part of Space2’s Men’s Group and Lewis was free when it took place, he was encouraged by a Space2 project worker to start attending.Lewis has again found the arts activities inspiring and gets involved with everything.Lewis says he is significantly more confident, would recommend the projects to other local people and was really pleased to agree to being a case study!He is now very independent using public transport; cooking at home; volunteering at a local charity shop to further develop his personal skills; is attending college and has also started cooking there too.
Mum Stephanie said:
“With Lewis routine is very important, he gets nervous when there is change or new things, however, with Space2 whenever he has been to new places he has felt safe and support and therefore, OK to go. He is more determined than ever to be treated as an adult and independently. Space2 has definitely contributed to his development.”