WHEN a Southampton mother realised that her grown up autistic daughter was becoming isolated, she decided to do something about it.

And today, Jane Bills-Moore is launching paintbox, an art group for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, at Woolston Community Centre.

"My daughter, Lucy, is now 22," explains Jane, who studied art at university and is her daughter's carer.

"She went through school and college, but then there comes a time when everything offered is quite expensive and she started to find herself a bit isolated. I thought that if it's isolating for her, it must be for a lot of young adults in similar situations.

"Lucy can't work so she needs something to keep her occupied."

The aim of the group is to provide a safe place for artists to simply create, but in the long term, Jane plans to turn some of the artists' work into greeting cards, mugs, wrapping paper, maybe even corporate packaging that will be sold, with all profits going back into the group to benefit the artists and help the group grow and expand.

"I believe this will also give the artists a huge sense of pride when people actually buy their work," says Jane.

"I'm also trying to get the word out so that we might be considered to be part of any upcoming community art projects in the city, and maybe even be offered space here and there to hold small exhibitions. In time I'd also love it if some small business owners would be able to stock some of our merchandise."

Jane also hopes that some of those taking part will be able to staff stalls and craft markets, and have the experience of selling their own goods directly to the public.

"I think it would be really exciting for them," she says.

"I know it would be for Lucy."

Jane adds that as Lucy and her boyfriend enjoy art, and as an art graduate and former designer of wedding stationery, it is an area she is experienced in, she often organises art activities for them, and thought that she could offer the experience to more young people.

"At the end of education, people can come to the end of the road," she says.

"The groups that are available often require a big contribution. We can't afford it and I thought other families might be in the same situation. I wanted to offer something that people can just come to, without having to worry about affording it."

There is a £5 charge per session, to cover the cost of the hall, and sessions run from 1pm to 4pm, every Tuesday from today. Attendees are welcome to take a carer if needed.

For more information, call 07828 905620 or email info@thepaintbox.org.uk