Shared Space charity shop in Westcliff, hosted a photographic exhibition for deaf photographer, Chris Tourle.

Chris has volunteered in Shared Space since the Westcliff shop opened back in 2010. And he became interested in photography two years ago. Chris said, “Photography is a good way for me to communicate with other people as I am deaf and mute”.

With support from staff in the Shared Space store in Westcliff, Chris has steadily developed his photographic skills. Now he is specialising in taking local landscapes around Southend and Westcliff.

The idea was to give part of the Shared Space Westcliff store over to a photographic exhibition of Chris’ work and this was possible with help from his local Southend church, Chuch from Scratch. An exhibition and launch party were arranged at which Chris gave a talk in British Sign Language explaining his work. the church provided interpretation into English.

deaf chris prepares westcliff photo exhibitionChris had never put on an exhibition before and after months of planning the shop hosted an exhibition of over 30 framed photos of his work. All money raised from sale of the photos went to support the Shared Space Boost Fund which gives away £100 grants every month to support local good causes in Westcliff.

Chris has gone on to join Benfleet and Thundersley photographic club, where he scooped a prize in their competition.

Graham Doel, Shared Space development manager said, “We are passionate about investing in our volunteers and nurturing their talents to give them the best opportunities in life. Helping Chris to do an exhibition in the Westcliff shop has helped him to get going in life.”

Chris volunteers two shifts a week at the Shared Space charity shop at 453 London Road, Westcliff on Sea – opposite the Palace Theatre. He regularly co-leads sessions to teach other shop volunteers British Sign Language.

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