Chris Rathbone is a young man with autism, and extreme sensitivity to noise. He is hard-working and wants to be useful. He also likes being creative.
Because of his sensitivity to noise it is impossible for him to work in the community, and the environment near his home (we live near to an army base and a children's nursery!), means he can’t be there during the day. So, in the summer of 2018 when the day service he had been attending for the previous five years decided they could no longer cater for his needs, we needed to find an alternative quickly.
“What do you want to do Chris?” we asked.
“I like to work.”, was the reply. “I like to make mugs. I like cooking and baking. I like to keep fit and go to the gym and go swimming and canoeing.” We could find nowhere suitable for him to go, so family and friends, with the support of his social worker, came together to create something that was just right for him. In a quiet lane, a few miles away from home, we rented a house and set up a place for him to do the work he wanted to do and to serve as a base for all his other activities. This is how Chris and Co was born.
Chris and Co is an aspiring social enterprise, which enables Chris, his family and, in time, his friends to get involved in doing some of the things Chris enjoys, and enables him to spend his days in a safe, quiet environment. We make our own special range of mugs We also make coasters, greetings cards and other interesting things. We can also personalise mugs and other items for other people and for local organisations and businesses.
In this calm, peaceful environment Chris, with the help of his support workers, has been able to develop new interests. One of his favourites is painting with acrylics; a remarkable achievement for someone who used to hate getting messy! Using his artwork, we now produce a beautiful range of greetings cards, mugs and coasters. Chris is also starting to paint on larger canvases and has received several commissions.
Chris also enjoys, model making, and gardening and he now volunteers two mornings a week at the Farnham Community Farm, where he and his support staff work very hard with sowing, planting, fertilising and harvesting a wide range of vegetables. Chris currently receives no financial support from social services for his painting or these activities, so selling our work is vital in enabling Chris to continue what he’s doing.
We hope you like what you see and buy from us. We don’t have the resources to include everything we make on the website. Nor do we have the computer skills to enable people to order personalised products through it, so if you would like to know more about what we do, or if you would like us to create something unique for you, please get in touch.
When you buy from Chris and Co, not only will you be getting a unique gift for yourself or someone you love, you will also be supporting an exceptional young man and enabling him to live the life he deserves.