Art project is picture perfect

A YEAR of preparation is about to pay off for the organiser of an intriguing art project.

A YEAR of preparation is about to pay off for the organiser of an intriguing art project.

Neil Coote, who is deaf and has learning disabilities, last year sent 40 disposable cameras to local businesses, shops and schools and asked them to get snapping.

He steadily received an overwhelming response of 700 photos which he will finally display at an exhibition in his Ipswich this Friday.

Mr Coote, 45, of Silent Street, Ipswich, funded the project through a small grant aimed at helping people with learning disabilities build links in their community.

'Disposable Technology' will go on display at the St Nicholas Centre, in Ipswich, on Friday and Saturday and is the culmination project led by Mr Coote, with support from the national disability charity United Response.

He came up with the idea for the project after his United Response support workers told him about a grant scheme available through the charity aimed at enabling people with learning disabilities to become better involved in their local communities.

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Mr Coote used his successful grant application to buy the cameras and sent them out with a cover letter asking recipients to send back the cameras full of images showing technology in the local community.

Ria Towell, one of his support workers, said: “We've been overwhelmed by just how much support we have received from the local community for this project.

“So much more has come out of it than we could have possibly imagined. We just can't wait now for the exhibition and for everyone to get to see the photos that have been taken. It's going to be fantastic.”

Mr Coote added: “I've had so much fun I don't want it to end!”

The Disposable Technology exhibition is free of charge and open to all between 10am and 4pm on Friday and from 10am to 7pm on Saturday.

Have you got an idea for your own community art project? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

How Neil Coote made the exhibition possible:

The response locally was very positive with several local businesses including Jessops, McDonalds, Saints Wine Bar, the St Nicholas Centre, Sainsbury's and Ipswich Town Football Club offering to support the project and exhibition.

Several local businesses have offered prizes to be given out on the night for the best photos, while staff at Jessops and Suffolk College have volunteered to sit on the judging panel.

The manager of Jessops even asked Mr Coote to teach him some sign language so that he can better communicate with customers.