County council supports Sam to develop photography career

An up-and-coming young photographer is taking first steps towards a professional career thanks to support from North Yorkshire County Council.

Sam Guy, 22, has had two photography exhibitions so far due to a helping hand from the County Council’s Supported Employment Service.

His most recent exhibition at The Station in Richmond came about after County Council officers set out a plan for Sam to help him achieve his ambition of becoming a professional photographer.

Sam, who specialises in landscape and architectural photography and focuses on the landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and the Lake District, has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

The County Council’s Supported Employment Service, which helps disabled people and carers to find work or training, is now helping Sam develop the marketing and communication skills to support his considerable abilities as a photographer and his ambition of working professionally.

“We are delighted with the progress Sam is making,” said County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration. “Our Supported Employment Service helps people with disabilities and other needs to develop real skills to boost employment prospects.

“In this way Sam’s excellent photographic ability is being supported so that he can develop real and marketable skills to lead a more independent and fulfilling life in his chosen career.”

Mandy Hadland, one of the County Council’s employment officers, recognised Sam as a talented photographer who has the potential to succeed with a little extra support. She therefore helped Sam to access a course on self-employment with the Princes Trust and to organise an exhibition at the Joe Cornish Gallery in Northallerton.

She also supported Sam to access a Direct Payment which has enabled him to employ a personal assistant for a few hours each week. He will be the first person in the County to use a Direct Payment for self-employment.

Mandy also helped Sam to organise two other exhibitions – one at Northdale, Yafforth Road, Northallerton and the second at The Station in Richmond. In addition Sam has taken photographs around the Thirsk area and will be showing these in Olivia’s bakery and café in the town. He has also been commissioned by the County Council to take pictures of local architectural landmarks for one of its publications. This week he will be giving a talk on the history of his work to the residents of Malpas Court, Northallerton, where some of his prints will be for sale.

“The support has helped me open my mind to see what’s out there” said Sam. “It’s daunting to push your own work, but this has given me confidence.”

“This support has been a lifeline to Sam,” said Kath Guy, Sam’s mother. “Mandy has helped Sam understand why he does things the way he does and she has also brought out the things he is good at and has helped him to grow in confidence. He has had a lot of positive feedback from his exhibitions.

“Sam has always been good at taking photographs, but now he is learning how to market his work and how to communicate. This means he can take a step in the right direction towards a career in the thing he loves to do.”

One of the Council’s key priorities is to explore and increase the opportunities for young disabled people to achieve paid employment. In particular, the Supported Employment Service has helped over 60 people into paid work during the last year, and is currently working with about 150-200 others in terms of giving advice, information and support to find paid work. The Service is also playing an important role in the development of the county-wide autism strategy.

It recently launched a Coffee Cart in the grounds of County Hall, Northallerton, to train baristas
so that people with disabilities, mental health and other needs can increase their opportunities in the jobs market.

Pictures show: Sam showing his photographs at Northallerton library to County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health integration

Sam being photographed in front of his exhibition at The Station, Richmond by Richard Webb, North Yorkshire’s Corporate Director for Health and Adult Service