John LennonA student with an autism spectrum condition has used his artistic skills to raise thousands of pounds for charities Ambitious about Autism and Norwood.

Jake Chodosh, who attends Oaklands’ Springfield provision in St Albans, which provides courses for young adults aged 19-22 with severe learning disabilities, has raised more than £2,000 from sales of his paintings of celebrities from John Lennon (pictured) to Nelson Mandela and Amy Winehouse.

He chose to donate to Ambitious about Autism and Norwood because they have provided him with support. For instance, Norwood helped him move out of his family home in Barnet to live independently in supported accommodation in Edgware, something that his mother Ruth never thought would happen.

"Oaklands has been absolutely brilliant," she said. "I was very worried at first because Jake had been at his last school since he was five but he came home buzzing after his first day at Oaklands.

"I always wanted him to go somewhere where his tutors would push him further to help him become more confident, which has certainly been the case."

Jake had begun painting while he was at school, and spurred on by positive comments from friends, Jake’s sisters Katie and Jessica decided to look for a way of sharing his work with the world.

“We had stacks of Jake’s paintings in our house and people would tell us how good they were,” said Katie. “Jake is a very visual person and we wanted a way to showcase his work.

“When people buy his paintings, we ask them to send us a photo of them with the painting as that’s a tangible way for Jake to be able to see someone enjoying his work."

Ruth added: “It was really nice to see them bond over a shared interest. Katie and Jessica have always been very supportive of Jake and they wanted to do something to make him the star.”

To see more of Jake’s work visit his website: www.artismbyjake.com