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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, Oct 17 2017 01:55PM

Lots needed for charity auction

DONATIONS are needed - to go under the gavel in a charity auction happening in Leamington next month.

It’s all to raise money for Heart of England Mencap and the local people with learning disabilities which the charity supports.

Proceeds from the auction will be used to purchase sensory equipment for Heart of England Mencap’s Complex Needs Centres, including the Fordsfield Centre in Leamington, where the auction itself will take place.

But first – good quality lots are needed to go under the gavel.

“This is a new fundraiser for us and we’re really hoping to raise enough money to buy new sensory equipment for our centres supporting people with complex needs in both Leamington and Stratford,” Cath Errington, Fundraising Manager for Heart of England Mencap said.

“But for our auction to be a success, we really need people to donate items to go under the gavel on the day. We’re after any small, good quality items – from handbags to furniture, toys to collectibles. Perhaps it’s the perfect chance to have a clear out and know that everything you donate will be making a real difference to local lives. We are open to auctioning ‘pledges’ as well – so if you’re not able to donate an item but could donate your time, we’d love to hear from you.”

Donations can be taken to the Fordsfield Centre, Bury Road, Leamington, or you can call Lorna on 07929 032524, or Liz on 07791 371421 for more information. Please note no electrical items can be taken.

The auction was the idea of George Anderton, a keen auction-goer who works at the Stratford complex needs centre, Brookbank.

It will take place on Saturday November 25th at the Fordsfield Centre in Leamington. Viewing starts at 11am on the day, with the first lots going under the gavel from 12pm.

Auction paddles cost just £1, with hot drinks and bacon or veggie baps also available.

Photo: Going going gone – George Anderton, Cath Errington and Lorna Haynes from Heart of England Mencap get auction ready.


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