An Ebbw Vale businessman is helping people with mental health conditions to get into work.

The young entrepreneur, Leon Spencer, 25, from Rassau, has created an environment where people with mental health issues can develop their employment skills.

Mr Spencer has high-functioning autism and found it challenging to maintain a traditional job and would be extremely anxious when forced into social situations. He also felt like he was unheard in his workplace and wanted to build a business that supported his employment needs.

He launched LTS Cleaning and Maintenance Solutions in October 2023 with support from Big Ideas Wales.

His business provided practical roles such as pathway restoration, fence fixing, and gardening services to businesses and residents in Blaenau Gwent.

Since launching, he has supported three individuals with mental health conditions by offering opportunities for work experience and volunteering at LTS.

Mr Spencer said: "The first lad who volunteered with us couldn’t hold a conversation or look me in the eyes.

"By the time he had completed his volunteer role months later he was communicating confidently with customers and had developed so much pride in his work, he was a different person altogether.

"He’s now has a permanent job as a landscaper."

Mr Spencer also shared the story of another volunteer with high-functioning autism who, after volunteering at LTS, improved his sleep pattern and work ethic.

He continued: "He’s now third in charge at a successful restaurant."

He also spoke of his own experiences and how they have shaped his approach to LTS.

He added: "Having worked for employers who either had no understanding of disability requirements or had not implemented any initiatives to help people like me succeed, I understand how important my work is.

"I’m a different person since launching LTS."

Mr Spencer reached out to Big Ideas Wales with the support of his parents, who have been running their own business for more than 17 years.

The Welsh Government-funded service supports young people in developing business ideas.

Big Ideas Wales advisor, Amanda Bordessa, who worked closely with Mr Spencer in his startup phase, said: "Leon has spent almost a decade trying to change himself in order to fit into the mould of traditional employment.

"LTS Cleaning and Maintenance is more than just a want to start a business; it's about finding purpose, helping others and setting a precedent for other employers.

"Leon isn’t just running a business, he’s changing lives through meaningful work opportunities."