Seashell Trust's 10 out of 10: Cherylee Houston

Cherylee Houston with her quote about Seashell Trust

To celebrate our decade as Seashell Trust, we are sharing ten top people who have been at the heart of our family during the last ten years – staff, volunteers, supporters and most importantly our extraordinary students and their families.

Let us know who else you think is 10 out of 10!

Seashell has marked its 10-year milestone by announcing Coronation Street star and disability advocate Cherylee Houston as our ambassador this year.

The arts, including drama, have always had an important role at Seashell Trust, giving our students who may struggle to communicate through speech other ways to express themselves.

The actress and activist has been connected to the trust in recent years through her creative collective TripleC - a Greater Manchester group of disabled and non-disabled actors trying to increase access to the arts for people with disabilities. They use theatre workshops, film and improvisation to encourage self-discovery.

Cherylee said: “I’m one of the founder members of TripleC. We did a seven-week trial with Seashell College students last year and because of the positive outcomes we have now been kindly funded by PZ Cussons to run weekly drama classes with the students from the school and college.

Creativity is vital to the development of our students and Cherylee agrees: “What is so exciting about the work we do, is it is student-led which encourages creativity and independent thought, therefore increasing confidence.

“I have seen the massive and incredible impact it can have on communication, social learning theory, self-advocacy and personal development. The way we work ensures each young person is at the centre of the work and it is driven from their ideas and responses.”

It has turned out to be a match made in heaven for Seashell Trust and Cherylee’s TripleC.

She said: “It is really exciting how Seashell has embraced the way that we work at TripleC and how they are keen to work with us because we are also people with disabilities who want to share our knowledge, learnings and to provide positive role models.

“I love the energy as soon as you enter Seashell, there is often a friendly face that’s greeting you as they pass whilst you’re waiting at reception. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the young people.”

From the minute a child or young person arrives here at Seashell we are working to prepare them for the day when they leave. Cherylee backs our vision of giving our students as many tools as possible to help them find their place in society.

She said: “I think Seashell are incredibly important in the work they do. It is imperative young people with disabilities are given the most opportunities to enable them to live their life to their full potential and participate in society as they have a lot to offer.

“If we keep excluding people from participating fully in society then society isn’t getting the full benefit of all its citizens’ input. I really like the ethos at Seashell where the young people are followed through their education and out into the community in terms of work.”