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Towie star Lydia puts her art skills to test with vulnerable adults at Elhap

PUBLISHED: 13:15 26 October 2017

Elhap's Ambassador Lydia Bright joins service users for an art session. Picture: Melissa Page

Elhap's Ambassador Lydia Bright joins service users for an art session. Picture: Melissa Page

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Reality TV star Lydia Bright, of The Only Way is Essex, spent the day creating art with vulnerable adults at Elhap, a unique support centre for disabled children and vulnerable adults in Woodford Green.

Elhap's Ambassador Lydia Bright joins service users for an art session.
Back left is local artist Avril Tuohy from O2E (Ordinary to Extraordinary), Elhap Ambassador Lydia Bright (sat second from left), Head of Development at Elhap Rachel Joseph (centre back) and Play Worker Naseef Zaman (far right) with service users. Picture: Melissa PageElhap's Ambassador Lydia Bright joins service users for an art session. Back left is local artist Avril Tuohy from O2E (Ordinary to Extraordinary), Elhap Ambassador Lydia Bright (sat second from left), Head of Development at Elhap Rachel Joseph (centre back) and Play Worker Naseef Zaman (far right) with service users. Picture: Melissa Page

Under the Orchard Project, Lydia and volunteers are working with the participants to create gift cards to raise money for the organisation.

Lydia recently became an ambassador for Elhap but has been involved with them for years since her mother, Debbie Bright, became a foster carer.

She has first-hand experience with the charity, as her 13-year-old foster brother, who has learning difficulties, and her seven-year-old cousin, who has autistim, are both involved with Elhap, Roding Lane North.

Lydia told the Recorder: “Since coming to Elhap, my brother has been able to socialise with kids with the same needs as his. It’s his own little community and he loves coming here and helping out.”

Elhap's Ambassador Lydia Bright joins service users for an art session. Picture: Melissa PageElhap's Ambassador Lydia Bright joins service users for an art session. Picture: Melissa Page

She hopes that more local people will be able to get involved: “The building is in dire need of repair and we need more volunteers.

“We all get pulled into supporting large-scale charities. But here you can actually see the difference you are making. It’s so uplifting to be with the kids and I love it.”

Some of the children recognise Lydia from her public appearances and they enjoy watching her on TV. She added: “They’re very talkative and love asking what I’m up to.”

Avril Tuohy, local artist and ambassador at Ordinary to Extraordinary, has been helping the Elhap adults with their art.

Elhap's Ambassador Lydia Bright joins service users for an art session in Woodford Green. Picture: Melissa PageElhap's Ambassador Lydia Bright joins service users for an art session in Woodford Green. Picture: Melissa Page

She said: “A lot of the materials we use are from things we’ve found and it would be great if people could donate more craft materials.”

With a vast adventure playground, Elhap focuses on allowing disabled children to experience nature and wildlife.

Robert Dighton, director, said: “Elhap is all about offering children the freedom to play and find out more about themselves. Here, children hang their disability at the front door.

“Volunteers are the answer for us, it’s a great opportunity for young people to get involved. Most people fall in love with Elhap and we couldn’t do what we do without volunteers.”


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