Activities Unlimited has unveiled new cartoon style characters for its website, which have been designed with the help of the children and young people who use the service.
The organisation is responsible for setting up short breaks and activities for young people and their families in Suffolk who are disabled or have additional needs.
The hedgehog character, which features on Activities Unlimited’s newly refreshed website, has been designed by Sean Wilby, a 12 year old who has autism.
Along with several other children and young people, he was asked to draw a character which he thought represented autism, and the hedgehog was the result.
Many of the new characters used on the website are depicted as being disabled or having additional needs, in a bid to make the brand more representative of the people it provides services for, so that they are able to relate to them.
The organisation held three user experience sessions with the young people to find out what they liked and didn’t like about the existing website, as well as what they liked more broadly across the internet.
All of this feedback helped to shape the new version of the website.
Sean’s mum, Donna said: “I’m so proud of Sean for coming up with such a clever idea.
“When I asked him why he had chosen to represent autism as a hedgehog, he said he thought of himself as having quite a prickly outer shell, and being a bit shy.
“He thought the hedgehog was the closest representation of those feelings.”
Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and young people, said: “We were really keen to involve the young people who actually use the Activities Unlimited service, and we were delighted with their ideas.
“We now feel that the website is a much better reflection of the young people and families that use the much valued services offered by the award winning Activities Unlimited team.
“I would encourage young people with additional needs and their families to take a look at what is on offer by visiting the new website at: www.access-unlimited.co.uk/activitiesunlimited ”
Activities Unlimited was established in June 2009 with the aim of creating a range of fun opportunities for children and young people with disabilities and additional needs.
The organisation currently has 2,500 people registered for its service and 350 providers of activities for newborns to 25 year olds.
These include horse riding, archery, swimming, woodland adventures, themed residential trips, animation, arts and crafts as well as overseas trips.
For more information on Activities Unlimited, visit their new website at www.access-unlimited.co.uk/activitiesunlimited/
For all the latest news see tomorrow’s (Thursday, January 3) Echo.