Young people

Celebrating uniqueness through art

Celebrating uniqueness through art

An art competition conceived by Rotarian and professional mouth and foot painter Tom Yendell provides the perfect opportunity for disabled young children to express themselves through art.

Funded by the Mouth and Foot Painting Trust Fund, the Unique Art Awards is an art competition where disabled children aged 7-21 can win up to £600 and up to £3,000 for their school/college art department.

From painting to photography and digital art, the competition gives a lot of the young people taking part the first chance to hear praise for their work by professional artists.

There are three categories that can be entered: CHILD 7-15, YOUTH 16-21 and GROUP WORK.

I wanted to try and do a national art competition for kids with uniqueness.”

The submission deadline for this year’s competition is the 29th of March and then, after a careful selection process, 30 finalists and their families are invited to a ceremony later in the year where the winners will be announced.

Previous years have seen the final ceremony hosted by journalist Alastair Stewart and famous gardener Alan Titchmarsh.

The core idea for the Unique Art Awards came about when Rotarian and Mouth and Foot Painting Artists board member Tom Yendell was creating a small picture for a boy called Adam at an event in Bristol.

Tom recalls: “I did this card, I gave it to Adam then he took it, walked about three paces and stopped…he turned round, came back and he just said “thank you so much for my picture, I love your uniqueness” and there it was.

“That’s why the Unique Art Awards started – I wanted to try and do a national art competition for kids with uniqueness.”

Children and young people of all forms of uniqueness have the chance to express themselves and win great cash prizes at the Unique Art Awards.

Tom goes on to explain the importance of the Unique Art Awards to the people taking part in it, explaining: “We have whole tables of families come in because sometimes this is the first time that their autistic kid will ever get recognised for doing anything good, so it’s a really inspiring event.”

The event also looks to recognise the work done by teachers in the arts in special education through the Arts Teacher In Special Education Award. Schools and colleges can nominate teachers for this award by writing out why they think their nominated teacher deserves the award and submitting it to

You can find the rules and guidelines for entering the Unique Arts Awards here. Also don’t forget to follow the competition’s Facebook and Instagram pages!