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By Heart of England Mencap, Feb 9 2018 12:12PM

SOUTH WARWICKSHIRE’S first dedicated sensory space is now ready to welcome the wider community for tailored therapy.

Sensory Place, operated by Heart of England Mencap, opened in Leamington in 2017 - being used initially to benefit the local people with learning disabilities which the charity supports.

Now, the benefits of sensory therapy are being opened up to the wider community – to support adults and children with any physical or learning disability.

Individuals and care providers are able to book in for tailored sessions with the centre now open five days a week from 10am to 3.30pm.

Sensory Place can be found at the Fordsfield Centre in Bury Road, a complex needs day service run by Heart of England Mencap.

Funded by a £67,000 grant from Warwickshire County Council, it is the first sensory space of its kind in south Warwickshire.

It offers an atmosphere of relaxation and provides people with cognitive impairments and other challenging conditions the opportunity to enjoy and control a variety of sensory experiences.

Providing this stimulating environment can increase concentration and focus attention, develop or reactivate senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste, heighten awareness and improve alertness, improve coordination and motor development and promote cognitive development by increasing brain function.

“All of this helps to build confidence and encourage improved communication,” Lorna Haynes, Head of Community Day Services for Heart of England Mencap, said.

“Our Sensory Place has been designed to remove the obstacles present in day-to-day life which limit access to experiences and enjoyment for people with complex physical and learning disabilities.”

The equipment available includes an Interactive Sound and Light Floor, Fibre Optics, Bubble Tubes and Multi-Media Projection.

And the benefits are already being seen.

For one young man who is highly anxious a lot of the time, it’s a calm space he can use in the mornings to listen to relaxing music, helping him to carry that sense of calm throughout the day.

One lady has been using the space to build on her ‘switch work’ - a form of communication and an aid to support her to make choices. She is able to press a switch to turn on the bubble tube for example, developing her skills and enabling that ability to choose.

Another lady, who is reliant on her wheelchair, uses the waterbed at Sensory Place – supporting her with her posture, giving her time in a different environment and providing a safe place to be out of her wheelchair for a while. She will also lift her head up to look at the bubble tube - giving her physical benefits, and is better engaged while using the sensory space - making more eye contact with her support workers.

“We have seen so many benefits already for our customers,” Lorna added.

“Now we want to reach out across the community to make sure everyone knows those benefits are available to all.”

Sessions cost £7 for 30 minutes or £10 for 1 hour. Group and themed sessions are also available and the sensory room can be used to conduct training.

For more information and to request a Welcome Pack with details of how to book your session please call on 01926 460228 or email sensoryplace@heartofenglandmencap.org.uk


A – Heart of England Mencap customer Charlene Hayward

B – Heart of England Mencap customer Charlene Hayward and team leader Marie Divers

By Heart of England Mencap, Feb 7 2018 12:00PM

THE FRIENDS of Heart of England Mencap will be putting their hearts into their first fundraiser of 2018.

The group will be holding a Valentine Afternoon Tea in Stratford on Friday February 16th.

It is taking place at the Rosebird Community Hall between 2.30pm and 4.30pm.

Everyone’s invited to drop in for a cuppa and cake for just £2.50. There will also be an opportunity to pick-up a pamper goody bag for just £2.50 extra.

The Friends of Heart of England Mencap has raised a huge £20,000 to support local people with learning disabilities over the past four years.

Chair Anna Kingsley said: “This is a chance to come along and enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake or two while raising money to fund equipment and activities which directly benefit the local people with learning disabilities who are supported by Heart of England Mencap.

“It’s a great chance to come and meet our Friends group too and find out all about our future fundraising and events. We’re always looking for new members and new ideas, an opportunity to meet people and have fun whilst fundraising.”

For more information please call 01789 298709 or email Anna56@icloud.com

By Heart of England Mencap, Jan 31 2018 01:40PM

THEY set out to put the fun back into fundraising – and four years on they’ve managed to raise a huge £20,000 along the way.

That’s the total which has now benefitted local people with learning disabilities thanks to the Friends of Heart of England Mencap.

The fundraising group began back in 2014, set up and chaired by Karen Rousell from Stratford, whose daughter Lottie has learning disabilities.

She wanted to support a charity close to her heart and put the fun back into fundraising - hosting events which people wanted to attend, raising money along the way.

And it’s a formula which has worked. Four years on and they’ve now raised a huge £20,000 for Heart of England Mencap, which supports people with learning disabilities across Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

The money has been raised through all sorts of events – from coffee mornings to a card nights or a clothes exchange, as well as sponsored challenges – including a hugely successful firewalk back in 2016 which raised over £10,000 alone.

“Their fundraising has enabled so much and we just can’t thank the Friends enough,” Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap, said.

“Every penny goes straight to the people with learning disabilities that we support – funding everything from arts and crafts equipment to drama group costumes or iPads. It has enabled our customers to stage their own photo exhibitions and even to publish their own book, talking about their experiences.

“It funds discos, barbecues, day trips – really important social events for our customers with learning disabilities; things which really mean so much. Without the Friends, so much of this would just never happen.”

After four years the group also now has a new chair taking over from Karen – although she will remain an active member.

Anna Kingsley is the new chair. A member of the Friends and an experienced fundraiser herself – having done everything from a sponsored Zumba to a sponsored skydive to raise money for Heart of England Mencap and in memory of her son Theo who passed away in 2008, aged 6.

“Karen has done an incredible job setting up the Friends, getting members on board and organising some amazing events raising a really tremendous amount,” Anna said.

“I’m looking forward to stepping into her shoes – knowing she will be right there with us as we look to raise the next £20,000!

“It’s a great group to be part of – a great way to have fun with new friends knowing that everything you’re doing is really making a difference.”

The first fundraiser of 2018 is coming up on February 16th when the Friends host a Valentine’s Afternoon Tea at the Rosebird Community Hall in Stratford. Everyone is welcome to pop along between 2.30pm and 4.30pm for a cuppa and a cake – and to find out more about the group and getting involved too.

For more information please call 01789 298709 or email Anna56@icloud.com

Photo: With a little help from their Friends – Karen Rousell, Wendy Strophair, Anna Kingsley, Yvonne Ferguson, Rachel Walker and Audrey Rose from the Friends of Heart of England Mencap


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