My name is James Clowes, 26 and I have the disability Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. I am a very creative person and always knew that I wanted to study a creative subject at University. I am also a Boccia player and currently part of the England Performance Group, so also wanting a University that would not only support me creatively but sportingly as well. I am a very driven person and I do not let things stop me in whatever I want to achieve in my life. I am writing this to share with you my University journey and an insight into what has happened since.

“When applying for Universities, I knew I wanted to stay close to home, as I enjoyed going home at weekends and it meant I could still use my season ticket for Portsmouth Football Club

At Treloar school, my favourite subject was Art and it became apparent to me through doing an Art and Design course that focused on Graphic Design at Treloar college, that I wanted to do a degree at University in Graphic Design. When applying for Universities, I knew I wanted to stay close to home, as I enjoyed going home at weekends and it meant I could still use my season ticket for Portsmouth Football Club. The two Universities close to me were Portsmouth University and Solent University in Southampton. Even though my first choice was Portsmouth, which I, unfortunately, did not get in to, I believe some things happen for a reason and Solent University was an amazing place for me.

I attended Solent University for six years, the first four studying a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design and the last two years studying a Masters in Visual Communication. Solent University enabled me to develop my design skills into a Graphic Designer, while their excellent High- Performance Academy for sport gave me the resources to continue developing the Boccia Athlete in me. One of the biggest factors that attracted me to Solent University was the Graphic Design course was industry-based, making the course more practical, which suited me perfectly.

University was a big step for me, as I had gone from Treloar College, where everything was given to you in terms of physical support in day to day living and specialist services such as Physiotherapists, to University where all of a sudden I was employing my own Personal Assistants and having to source my own specialists for jobs, such as who would fix my wheelchair if it broke.

“I was the first disabled student at Solent University to complete the current BA (Hons) Graphic Design course”

Just over a year on from leaving University, I am very pleased to have achieved a 2:1 for my BA (Hons) Graphic Design and a Merit for my Masters of the Arts in Visual Communication. I was the first disabled student at Solent University to complete the current BA (Hons) Graphic Design course and was actively encouraged to undertake the Masters by my Tutors, which I was very pleased to do, as it felt like a natural progression.

For the final three years of University, I decided to employ my own Personal Assistants, which was very successful and I now have a great team of Personal Assistants and bank staff, who I can call upon when they are required. Also, at this time, I lived at the student accommodation Vita Student Richmond House. I loved my time at Vita and have a lot of great memories, as this was a supportive, vibrant, inclusive place to live.

When I was doing my Masters, I decided to start my own business, Star Support For You, as I could use what I had learnt through employing my own Personal Assistants to assist others to do the same. The newest service to be added to the Star Support For You, is my Graphic Design services.

James Clowes

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

MA Visual Communication

http://www.starsupportforyou.co.uk/index.html

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