28th Oct, 2016

Leamington artist's 'dream come true' proves there is life after abuse

Sophie Heaviside 13th Mar, 2016 Updated: 5 hours ago

ART has helped a mum rebuild her life.

Simone Heather managed to escape an abusive relationship, and with her two young children, left Wolverhampton to stay with her brother in Southam.

And deciding things could not get any worse – with no home of her own and no job – the 29 year-old took the plunge and followed her dream of becoming an artist, selling canvases, decorated boxes, handmade cards and sketches.

With the help of the job centre, Simone was put in contact with the Prince’s Trust enterprise programme which helps those wanting to start their own business – she went on a week-long course which taught her how to market herself and handle the responsibilities of self-employment.

She told the Observer: “I always wanted to give art a go before but because I had a perfectly good job I didn’t want to take the risk and not make any money from it. But I had nothing to lose when I moved away from Wolverhampton so thought ‘why not?’

“I’ve had a few commissions – most recently a portrait of Heath Ledger as the Joker.

“I prefer drawing flowers and animals over people but I’d like to branch out and try my hand at caricatures.”

The Trust also assigned Simone a business mentor in the form of Terry Villers from Warwick-based Forever Living to help her on her self-employed journey.

For the last year, she has been creating and selling her artwork and has recently started stocking her work in vintage shop, Blighty Bazaar in Leamington.

It has not been easy for the single-mum having to move her children – two-year-old Izzie and four-year-old Ethan – four times in the last year-and-a-half.

After staying with her brother Daniel, the council housed Simone and the children in a women’s refuge for three months before a house became available.

She said: “It was quite nice in the refuge being with other women in a similar situation – the kids were with me and they were happy. They’ve been very adaptable to all the change.

“After the refuge, we were housed in Lighthorne Heath for eight months then moved into a flat in Southam at the start of the year.”

With the family settled, Simone is ready to put all her energy into self-employment and art in the next chapter of her family’s life.

Visit www.simoneheatherart.co.uk for further details.