Unique creations to go on sale at Works of Art Christmas Market in South Shields town centre

Christmas shoppers have the chance to pick up some unique gifts at a special festive market taking place this week.

The Works of Art Christmas Market is coming to South Shields on Thursday, December 22, from 10am to 3pm at the project’s premises in 88-90 Fowler Street in the town centre.

The market will feature a range of goodies handmade by members at AutismAble – who have also helped organise the event – plus one-of-a-kind gifts made by local and neurodivergent artists.

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Renowned South Tyneside artist Sheila Graber will also have work on sale.

EmployAbility group making cards.

Festive coffees, hot chocolates and cakes will also be available thanks to SeaChange Cafe, the Ocean Road-based vegan/vegetarian cafe which provides sustainable employment to people with autism and learning disabilities

Rachel Mawson, marketing and communications Manager at AutismAble, said: “Pick up a present for your loved ones and get into the seasonal spirit with an abundance of Christmassy treats and festive joy.

“The market has been arranged in partnership with AutismAble and SeaChange Cafe – local champions who help increase employment opportunities and improve the quality of life for people with autism and learning disabilities.”

There will also be a Christmas raffle to raise money for new laptops for AutismAble members to develop their digital and ICT skills.

Making reindeer hot chocolate cones

Works of Art – a new gallery, gift shop, venue and coffee bar – opened in October 2022 as an extension to the SeaChange family.

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It provides even more employment opportunities to neurodivergent adults across retail, hospitality and self-employment, as well as work placements for AutismAble members.

Collections include Sheila Graber, Lauren Osborne and Moodypidge.

Autism Able is a wellbeing, education and employment centre with bases in South Shields and North Shields.

Gemma with the hot drinks menu.
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The organisation says its focus is holistic creative programmes for young people with autism and learning disabilities.

All staff are qualified tutors and support workers who have experience with specialised programmes in music, digital skills, employability, catering, sports and creative arts therapy.

The South Shields base is at the Westoe Crown Hub, a large, autism-friendly venue and with facilities including large class rooms, creative spaces, disabled access, a breakout area, music rehearsal room, sports pitch, community gardening and picnic area.

Christmas decorations made at Works of Art.
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A Christmas card being made at Works of Art.
Christmas decorations made at Works of Art.
A Christmas card made at Works of Art.