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 worked with over 380 artists, collected, refurbished and exhibited 415 cricket bats and has sold close to 300 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.
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 Will works with through the exhibitions.
Will is 23 years old and has played and loved sport his whole life. Will lives under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder which means he cannot read or write and finds conversational communication challenging. His fine and gross motor skills are affected which means he cannot regulate his shower, do the most basic daily tasks and requires assistance with certain aspects of his daily life.
He is anxious when their is uncertainty and fiercley independent. He is 6’4, has a younger sister Phoebe, devoted parents, a family who accept him exactly the way he is and have witnessed him face significant challenges and a severe lack of choice.
Will has captained his school, selected as sports person of the year numerous times, rides a horse, competes in cricket, competed in a 25km mountain biking race, played an african drum, worked as a labourer, has performed in a music concert, and now …refurbishes cricket bats and is the inspiration of a thriving new business and national following.
People often talk about Willo as a young man with a presence. He is engaging, loves to participate, has no ego or judgement and hugs. You naturally gravitate to his smile, his integrity and love of life.
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.