Will is a young man and lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder which means that most of his life he has been faced with significant challenges. In order for Will to participate we have always had to create the opportunity, and for Will, he has always had to rise to the challenges. With Wills tenacity and resilience, his love of life and his passionate love of sport, especially cricket, we started Willo Industries.
The idea was to teach Will skills through refurbishing cricket bats.
He has since collected, refurbished and exhibited 371 cricket bats and has sold 266 stunning pieces of art on cricket bats, skateboards, baseball bats and outrigger paddles which range from painted, penciled, carved to amazing pieces that are sublime, beautiful to fanciful. He has worked with Prime Ministers, Archibald Finalists, sportsmen and women, musicians, schools and people from all walks of life.
He has held five exhibitions at the International Cricket Hall of Fame in Bowral, St Kilda Victoria, Kiama NSW, Bulli NSW and Perth in Western Australia. He will soon host exhibitions in Warooka South Australia, Rainbow Central Victoria, Robertson NSW and Geelong in Victoria.
Willo has been featured on the ABC 7:30 Report on two occasions, Small Biz Secrets on SBS Australia, Channel 10 Win News and numerous ABC Radio interviews in the Illawarra, Sydney and Perth. He has been interviewed and featured in many local media outlets including Highlife Magazine and live reports at his showings on ABC Illawarra Radio with Nick Rheinberger. A two month long display at the International Cricket Hall of Fame in Bowral and the Bowral Bookstore witnessed people coming from all over Australia to see the bats first hand in their window display.
Not only has Will rallied together a massive community throughout Australia, he has created more awareness about the ability in the disability, the need for communities to come together to integrate and support those living with differences and, he has combined our love of cricket and art into amazing exhibitions.
Willo Cricket Bats are currently selling direct from the International Cricket Hall of Fame in Bowral, The City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club Perth and soon at Ellis House in Bayswater Perth.
Will has engaged with the local mens shed in Bowral and schools to help with the sanding of the bats and he has refurbished an old red rattler train as a studio and gallery in Bowral.
Willo Industries has partnered with numerous Disability Support Providers across Australia to become a place of skill development and mentoring for young people living with intellectual disabilities. Refurbishing, packaging and sourcing the bats have become options for employment as the demand grows for exhibitions around Australia. Willo Hubs are being created in partnership in WA, SA, NSW and Victoria. The
Willo Industries is all about creating choice and an environment where there is an ability to grow, where there is collaboration from within our communities and where there is compassion and understanding for diversity. Monies raised through the sale of the bats will go directly into the development of this business and will be directed back into the communities Wills works with through the exhibitions.
Willo has played sport his whole life and loves to be with and around people. Will has Autism Spectrum Disorder, he has captained his school, surfs, plays tennis and competes in cricket, competed in mountain biking, plays an african drum, worked as a labourer, has performed in a concert, and now refurbishes cricket bats and is the backbone of a thriving new business.
Will is 21, he cannot read or write and finds it challenging to communicate within a conversation. His fine and gross motor skills are all affected which means he cannot regulate his shower, do the most basic daily tasks and requires assistance with all aspects of his daily life.
He is 6’4 and has a younger sister Phoebe, devoted parents and family who accept him exactly the way he is and a community that has witnessed him face his fair share of challenges.
People often talk about Willo as a young man with a presence. You naturally gravitate to him and you cannot help love that smile and love of life.
Creating a piece of artwork on a cricket bat is open to anyone who would like to work with Willo. There are no rules or restrictions and the bat will be supplied by Willo ready to paint.
You don’t need to be an artist… you simply need to want to be involved and have an interest in helping to create a sustainable business for people living with a disability.
You may know someone who would love to paint, refer us to a school where the kids would like to be involved, a retirement village to give retirees a challenge or other ideas to offer a person or a group a connection.
Willo is now working with Communities across Australia to raise more awareness around intellectual disabilities and to build employment options for more young people.
The Willo Community is a collection of artists within a community who want to support the cause. Each artist is given a bat refurbished by Willo and his team. They have the option to paint or create some artwork and the bat is put into an Exhibition conducted in the community.
There is an organiser who we liaise with and they are the contact point to communicate and help organise the exhibition. If you would like to be a Willo Community please contact us.
How to Send Us your Bats
We currently source the second hand bats from across Australia.