Here’s news of a great project started by one of our staff, Mike Gallagher, during Autism Acceptance Month.

The ‘Smile Project’ encourages people we support in our Creative Arts and Technology group to create something each day to make someone else smile.

Activity Manager Mike says: “I came up with the idea recently, to go alongside another project we’re doing at Gallagher House, called the Friendship Group.

“I originally started the Friendship Group before Covid, because, even though we had a lot of people in our IT session, they were all facing away from each other, working on the PCs.

“I thought it would be good to start a project that would build social imagination, confidence, and reduce anxieties around interacting with others.”

Post-pandemic, Mike decided it would be good to build on this, in order to promote friendships and wellbeing, and the ‘Smile Project’ was born.

“I thought it would be a great way for the people we support to have a project that could have a positive impact on their wellbeing and make lasting friendships. So far, it seems to be working!”

Here are just a few examples of the Smile Project in action…

  • Karl and Daniel chose members of staff who have supported them at Gallagher House and wrote them letters of thanks for all their support.
  • Becky made a picture on Krita of herself with a helicopter (one of her current favourite things) then printed it out and put it on staff member Rachael’s wall in the art room, to surprise her when she came back in to work.
  • Adam and Karl encouraged Rachael to join in with their podcast, which she really enjoyed, so then they invited Alex to join in too.
  • Rob made a brilliant picture for Annabel using Krita and Publisher.

Going forward, Mike plans to expand the project to other groups in Gallagher House and Oak House too.

We can’t wait to see where the project goes next and look forward to seeing many more Smiles across Autism Together this year.