‘Invisible People’ at Worthing Museum

Worthing Museum has thrown open its doors to a very different type of exhibition. It’s called ‘Invisible People’ and features work by Guardian cartoonist, Henny Beaumont and young people with learning disabilities.

Lily the dog
‘Lily the Dog’ by Beth Beaumont

This is part of a larger campaign towards celebrating the successes of young artists with learning disabilities in collaboration with Superstar Arts and Rocket Artists. Henny’s daughter, Beth Beaumont, who has Downs Syndrome, learning disabilities and a fantastic sense of colour has contributed a painting, ‘Lily the dog.’

Henny said that only 5% of adults with learning disabilities in the general population are in paid employment. She said: “In Beth’s college 65% of students’ progress to paid employment, it shows what can be done with the right training.”

When talking about challenging perceptions about people with learning disabilities and autistic people, she said: “There is still huge ignorance. As a parent, you feel invisible and your children’s needs are invisible. The young artist who painted the Harry Styles painting came along to Worthing to see it displayed. It was wonderful to see how pleased she was – I can’t say it was validation for her – but that is my hope, that it helps people to feel validated and seen.”

Betsy King is a young woman with autism who came along to the exhibition with her Mum, Kathleen King. She is studying drama and was not diagnosed with autism until she was 16. This is not uncommon with girls. She said the assessments were “quite exposing” but she really benefits now from group therapy and the support network as well as access to 1:1 therapy.

Betsy’s favourite painting by Henny is of the court system, showing a judge surrounded by books that are toppling off a pile and crushing young people with learning disabilities underneath.

Trauma experienced by people with learning disabilities

Additional support for learners with learning disabilities can transform their time in education and greatly improve their chances of progression into employment. It is tragic that for many parents there is such a battle to access the support.

Henny was commissioned by Bild to explore the social care world – the barriers facing young people with learning disabilities and the system that sometimes makes it very difficult for families to get help.

Ben Higgins, Bild Chief Executive, said: “We have been privileged to have Henny Beaumont working with Bild and Respond on our recent trauma-focussed project and webinars. All the images have been co-produced through listening to professionals and people with lived experience. Henny has created incredibly impactful images, providing a powerful visual representation of people’s experiences of trauma.

Henny Beaumont with her art
Henny Beaumont with her art

“Far too many people with learning disabilities and autistic people have experienced complex trauma.

“This project and the accompanying images have helped deepen awareness of understanding of trauma across education, health and social care.”

A lot of Henny’s work emphasises the trauma experienced by young people with learning disabilities and the multiple barriers they face to inclusion.

Henny also teamed up with Brigit Connolly to produce the ceramics (plates and mugs) during workshops. They can be made to order for a limited time while the exhibition is underway.

Beth Beaumont

Henny has worked tirelessly in Stoke Newington with Kate Revere and Stoke Newington Business Association on ‘Invisible people N16,’ an exhibition in over 90 shops, where art work by people with learning disabilities, autistic people  and people from marginalised communities was displayed in shop windows.

Look out for Henny’s book; “Hole in the heart. Bringing up Beth.” Henny will be doing a book signing at the museum in the autumn.

‘Invisible People’ exhibition will run until 30 October at Worthing Museum.



Help rescue seagulls dying of bird flu

Justin King who heads up the Sussex Coast gull and bird voluntary network is at the end of his tether trying to rescue seagulls and pigeons, many of whom have contracted bird flu.

Mr King said the closure of Roger’s Wildlife Rescue in Woodingdean had come at the worst possible time and other wildlife rescue services and volunteers were having to pick up the pieces.

Brighton Council has issued guidance for how to report birds with symptoms of bird flu in public places and how to dispose of them safely if found in your garden. The risk of human beings contracting bird flu is low but the public are advised not to touch infected seagulls.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service (WRAS) and Seahaven Wildlife Rescue are also helping sick gulls, although their centres are no longer able to take them in to protect the animals already being cared for there.

Brighton seafront office

Mr King said: “I have rescue requests coming out of my ears, hardly anyone to help and I’m now running a makeshift hospital from my garden. All wildlife centres have turned their backs on gulls, the council (whose offices are still closed since Covid) are not helping.

“Gulls are being dumped everywhere imaginable, including the doorsteps of the seafront offices and DEFRA has done nothing to help other than to provide a phone number that offers nothing.”

Mr King said: “Volunteers are drowning with no support. We are beyond breaking point, with two hospitalizations of staff including myself. Some are losing their jobs.

“Wildlife sites are closed and volunteers have been abandoned to do all of the rescue work. Baby birds are now having to be quarantined by us if they have bird flu and sent to people’s houses and gardens to be raised until august.

“Apart from the council proposing to erect signs on the beaches which provide no helpful support, they have offered nothing.

“It is us who are doing all the work and we have done since May when the last wildlife site in Brighton shut its doors. There has been no mention of the mental impact it is having upon us and we are having to rely upon donations, NOT from the media, NOT from the council, NOT from Defra, but yet again, from the public.

“Now we are in flying ant season and these symptoms are further confusing things for us and being confused with bird flu.

“Furthermore the violence and neglect towards these birds has increased 100 fold. Things are getting worse for all of us.”

Seagull with bird flu

Mr King has therefore launched an urgent appeal. He needs volunteers, drivers and people to adopt birds as well as donations of crates, puppy pens, soap powder, cat and dog food and towels. The water and electricity costs are huge from all the washing they have to do.

The campaign has already raised £1,222 on the just giving website but more money is needed to save the seagulls. You can donate here.

Alternatively you can donate using go fund me which has a target of £5,000.