Richard Creates ‘Canaries’ Art for his beloved Norwich City Football Club

Richard, a man with Down Syndrome, holds up a piece of artwork he has made. There is a green background with opaque images of other pieces of his art.

Richard, A man with Down’s Syndrome, has created a football shield using hundreds of tiny beads to celebrate his beloved Norwich City Football Club and raise awareness of the benefits of using art to promote wellbeing. 

Richard’s Canary was created using hundreds of tiny beads

Richard lives in an Ambient supported living service and took many hours to make the piece which features Norwich City’s famous ‘Canary’. He wants to share his love of art to encourage others in the Learning Disability community to take up the hobby.  

Richard, who turns 65 in December, has been supported by Ambient since 2009 and for 15 years he has attended a day service three days a week at Norfolk and Norwich SEND Association (NANSA). Ambient work in partnership with NANSA to ensure that Richard’s love of art is nurtured and developed.  

Spending up to 18 hours a week working on his art at the day service, it helps Richard’s wellbeing and mental health. 

Josie Bennington, Team Leader at Ambient Support, and Richard’s Keyworker, says:  

“Down’s Syndrome affects people differently. Richard is very healthy, mobile and understands language brilliantly however, he finds it difficult to communicate verbally so will use lots of actions to ensure he is understood.

Art is extremely therapeutic for Richard. He absolutely loves it and is always busy creating. Our partnership with NANSA ensures that Richard’s passion for art is fully supported and encouraged.

Richard’s ‘RAF’ artwork

Richard will bring home one piece a week and he uses his bedroom wall as his gallery to display his work. He creates so much that he needs to store it in his bedroom cupboard and then alternate the pieces as he wishes. We also have his art displayed along the staircase in the house and in the conservatory.

We encourage him to create scrapbooks and he’ll spend hours cutting out from newspapers, magazines, colouring books and pictures he’s found on the internet. He has 8 or 9 scrapbooks, all with a different theme including animals, World Wars and of course, football.”

Richard is a passionate Norwich City Football Club fan. Pre-Covid he attended many games at Carrow Road Stadium and went along to several ‘Jamie’s Game’ celebrity events where he met a few famous faces.  

Richard with (L to R) Dane Bowers, Jamie Abbott, Jake Wood at ‘Jamie’s Game’ events.

Josie continues:  

“Art is instrumental to Richard’s wellbeing- it keeps him very busy and he’s really very good at it, some of his works are amazing and extremely intricate. But his love of football also makes him very happy. Richard watches avidly on television and always has great optimism for a Norwich win- his passion is infectious!”

Josie concludes:

“What better time to shine a light on Richard’s artistic achievements than in Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month this October, which is recognised across the world, and celebrates each individual and tackles stereotypes and myths surrounding the syndrome.” 


Find out about Ambient’s Supported Living Service in Norfolk, HERE

For insights from our Housing partner, Amber Housing, about what supported living means to them, read our blog here. 

To talk to us about what you need and how we can help, please get in touch.

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