It has been an active month at The Old Devonport Post Office and this looks set to continue with the festive season and summer upon us. There has been a new store opening and lots of brand new stock arriving at So French Home.
Art+Soul has generically grown over the last five years starting with the family of a young lady with downs syndrome who has a lot of chronic medical conditions.
The family found that once their daughter left school there was very little for her to do due to the combination of her diagnosis and the limited amount of resources provided by the government for her and her peers living with similar needs.
Her older sister and younger brother decided to set up a band on the North Shore and invited her peers to come along with either a member of their family or a friend. They split the bill of the music studio between all members. All the brothers and sisters provided two hours of music and assistance on a voluntary basis.
This was a great success! Which resulted in a prime spot at the Auckland Albert hall singing alongside New Zealand’s famous musicians to celebrate the rolling stones 25th anniversary.
Simultaneously, an art group opened in Devonport Community House with the same methodology.
After the two year mark, a big decision had to be made. Many of the siblings were moving on and the care became far more than the parents could handle alone.
The band then took a giant hit with the studio closing. Thus a decision had to be made whether to stop completely and look back on those times with nostalgia or to continue forth. To continue it meant there needed to be employment of staff, more room hires and a lot more expenses.
So the original family turned it into a care facility for young adults with a variety disabilities including medical. By being a small business the family were able to employ nurses, paramedics, primary school teachers, art degree graduates all of whom would need the training on the individuals who attended Art+Soul with guidance and consultation of the parents and a medical team.
Today there is a healthy waiting list and a healthy amount of young adults, 20 to name, with a ratio of one staff to four young adults maximum.
Last year the sales from the pictures alone paid for the rents within the community this giving the young adults with disabilities huge confidence, strength in their abilities, provided a platform for community interaction and awareness on both sides.
It was a huge success for both the local community and members of Art+Soul.
The opening of the art gallery in The Old Devonport Post Office in Devonport is yet the next step for the young adults progression. It enables the organisers to be part of our community as peers and provide, without compromise, work experience in sales.
The original family have accepted that they will need to support Art+Soul financially throughout the first year. But the eventual goal is for the studio, the rent hire and the materials to become independent.
Art+Soul moto which was produced by the young adults is “Making life a little more productive and a lot more fun”. This is something that Art+Soul achieves on a daily basis only now it can be within their community.
Art+Soul, at The Old Devonport Post Office, 10 Victoria Road, Open 7 Days.
During the festive season and summer months So French Home is extending opening hours. The store will be open from 9.30am to 5pm daily.
With Christmas fast approaching it’s never too soon to think about preparations and gifts. So French Home has a huge range of options and offer beautiful gift wrapping.
A spectacular range of French table linen has just arrived which will be perfect to make the Christmas dinner table look very special!
The cafe in The Old Devonport Post Office is going from strength to strength offering a unique range of authentic French fare.
New during November is the Creme de Marron crape, which is chestnut cream and is superb. You must try it. The bistro is on track to open next month so more on that in next months Channel Magazine.