Lockdown has been a challenge for many of us, but Charles Blake has used his creativity to keep himself busy and focused, with his enterprise:`Crazy Crafts’.
26 year old Charles is a non-verbal person with autism, and he has sensory processing disorder which challenges him further. While he does not have an intellectual disability he struggles to learn in the same way as others, due to his autism. He lives alone and has carers support him 24/7.
Charles can’t speak but he communicates through a method called Rapid Prompting Method (RPM), where he points to letters on a laminate board. This has made a huge difference to his quality of life as he is able to express his opinions, of which he has many.
Charles has always tried all sorts of crafts and enjoyed them, so he focused on making items from bunting to bags and painting to pot holders.
“I’ve been working hard on my craft and that has helped me to stay calm and focused,” he said.
He is keen on recycling and upcycling and enjoys for example, turning old vinyl records into bowls and material into dog treat bags. He continues to make things for his enterprise which have been sold at The Green Life Pantry and the Pet shop in his nearest town, Market Rasen in Lincolnshire.
His bunting sold well in the run-up to the VE Day celebrations in May.
Charles said: “I feel that I’ve done something worthwhile when people buy my craft items, it makes me proud.”
Charles added that he was also helped by having ongoing education with his tutors Susan and Claire.
He decided that he wanted to rise to the challenge offered by the pandemic and help his neighbours. Many of them are vulnerable and elderly and had often failed to understand him because of the loud noises he makes. Charles was keen to demonstrate his kind and caring nature to them.
He wrote asking them to donate food and toiletries so that he could hand these into the new Life Church for the homeless. He parcelled the donations up and went with his support workers to donate them to the church.
He wrote a second letter of support to his neighbours offering to help with shopping.
“It’s brought the community together and made them aware. They wave at Charles now and he’s had some really positive reactions from them” said Charles’ mother, Geraldine.
“I love the neighbours and the feeling of belonging.” Charles said.
Proceeds from the sale of his craft items go back into his enterprise, Crazy Crafts so he can buy more materials.