SensationALL and Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday it is a day to give back and do good. At SensationALL we love the idea and thought it was the perfect opportunity to shout about the ways you can support our charity.

SensationALL are dedicated to providing outstanding therapeutic services for individuals with support needs and their families however, we simply couldn’t operate without help from our volunteers, supporters and local community! We rely on our volunteers giving their time to our users during services , fundraising committee giving their time at events, we rely on corporate supporters giving donations and raffle prizes. 

We have just launched our Christmas Card Campaign 2018 when we’re asking people to donate instead of sending cards this year. One of our parents was the first to sign up because of the experiences she’s had at SensationALL:

“SensationALL has provided an exemplary location for our son to feel at ease, the staff and other families provided a welcoming respite in a demanding world. Every £1 here makes a real impact!”

Here are some other ways you can give to SensationALL.

  • Volunteer at upcoming events (SensationALL Ceilidh, Friday 30th November, Winter Wonderland, Saturday 08th December)
  • Donations for our Winter Wonderland fayre – Chocolate, Home baking (drop off at the Old Schoolhouse by 06th and 07th December) and bottles for the bottle stall.
  • Fundraise for SensationALL – we’ve got places at Run Balmoral and Ride the North 2019 or organise your own fundraiser doing whatever you like!

If you want to give some time to SensationALL in any shape, we’d love to hear from you – email volunteering@sensationall.org.uk #SensationALL

Check out what the SensationALL team do here

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SensationALL and Children in Need

SensationALL provide therapeutic activities and specialist support for individuals with disabilities or multiple support needs (MSN), their families and associated professionals. To improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities by supporting them, we make specialist support accessible to the whole family in a tailored environment.

This year we were lucky enough to have secured three years funding from Children in Need, this funding has assisted the development of two groups to promote inclusion, social opportunities and empowerment of skills for children with multiple support needs and their siblings.

Inclusive Social Group

Previously only a monthly group, the Inclusive Social Group now runs every second week and is a social group for primary school-aged children with support needs (mainly autism and learning issues) and their siblings. It is run in conjunction with our sister social enterprise out of school care club, Schools Out! This gives us the opportunity to create a safe, supported environment for children with mainstream and diverse needs to play and learn from each other. A range of games, interactive activities and therapeutic rooms are available for all the children,  supported by experienced SensationALL staff. An added benefit for most of our families is that it is a drop-off session, where parents and carers are not expected to stay on-site, so providing a brief period of respite in an often challenging life.

Already it is evident how valuable this group is for families, some of whom travel almost 20 miles to attend. One mother said “It is one of the few places that we can come and I can leave my son, knowing that he is not only cared for in a safe place, but that he will be encouraged to engage with a range of peers, while learning to tolerate others and have unique opportunities to self-regulate with supportive staff in special facilities”.

One young sibling also said “It’s great that my brother has autism because it means that we both get to come here and play with our friends. I get to meet other siblings and have great fun!”

SocALLise Teenage Social Group

This group has developed rapidly over the last two school terms, increasing attendee numbers by 60%. It is attended weekly by academy-aged youngsters with various support needs (most being autism related). As well as this group being structured around usual youth club type activities like; pool, games, baking, sports, quizzes, and creative projects; the youth group get the opportunity to partake in community based visits and outings.

SensationALL Operational Team Lead, Suz Strachan says: “the focus for this group is to promote confidence, provide social and community based opportunities to increase vocational experiences and generally promote social skills and self resilience.”

One teenager said “I struggle to fit in, always have and SocALLise gives me a place to come every week where I can meet my friends and be accepted. I would probably just do nothing or sit in my room otherwise.” One of the parents expressed the difference it had already made to their teenage son: “…we have seen our son’s confidence increase and for a boy who’s default mode is reluctance, avoidance and negative thinking; the staff have quickly attuned to his needs and found ways to encourage his involvement in all the group’s activities.”

With less than 10% of income originating from service income, SensationALL rely heavily on grants, trusts and donations to ensure the continuation of life-changing groups like those supported by Children in Need and to help the development of their unique vision of an inclusive supportive hub for the North of Scotland.

SensationALL are very thankful for the opportunity to benefit from the support of Children in Need, not only in the form of funding, but also in their marketing and training support, which for a small, growing charity can assist with the empowerment of skills to ensure long term sustainability.

For more information on any of our groups and services, see our timetable here or contact us. #SensationALL

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October holidays with SensationALL

We cannot believe it is just a week to go until the end of the first term and the October Holidays! SensationALL has had a busy few months and there has been lots of activity in the Old Schoolhouse, including some renovations and makeover of some of our rooms and outdoor area. If you haven’t visited for a while remember we have stay-and-play sessions every second Sunday and a morning drop-in session on the first Tuesday of the month.

For now, let’s see the holiday events programme!

  • Monday 15 October

Inclusive Social Group with Schools Out! Club from 2pm to 4pm; come and try some Lego therapy techniques encouraging service users to work alongside their peers on a Lego project. There will be choices available with free play construction and other games including interactive online games on the Smart Board and is £5 per child and is suitable for MSN children and their siblings.

  • Tuesday 16 October

Inclusive Social Group with Schools Out! Club from 1.30pm to 3.30pm for a Fairy and Gremlin session, where you can get creative making pixie dust and gremlin goo! We will also have a go at making our own fairy garden, with pot planting and stone painting and try and find all the different Fairy and Gremlin homes at the bottom of the garden (where the Fairies live). Use your match cards to see if you have found them all and take part in the multi-sensory experience and see if you can hear the flutter of the fairy wings and the chatter of the gremlins as well as tasting magical themed snacks and is £5 per child, suitable for MSN children and their siblings.

  • Wednesday 17 October

Music Mayhem in the Old Schoolhouse from 6.30pm to 7.30pm! This is a drop-in session for all ages and abilities and is £4 per family.

  • Thursday 18 October

Sensory stations (10.30am to 11.30am) and free play (11.30am to 12.30pm). Our sensory station activity will involve a ‘have a go’ variety of sensory tools, including massagers, weighted blankets and music. Get involved with creating your own fidgets such as scented jewellery and stress balloons! We will also have the opportunity to use the soft play and sensory room. £5 for the session, suitable for MSN children and their siblings.

Musical Performance with Aberdeen musician and performing artist, Sam Stephen from 1.30pm to 2.30pm. Get involved with our accessible production, including interactive music with plenty of chances to sing, act, sign and dance! £5 per child.

Free Play session with the SensationALL team in the soft playroom and sensory room from 2.30pm to 3.30pm. £5 per child.

Booking is essential for all activities (except for Music Mayhem which is a drop-in sessions) and is possible via email or telephone 01223 746699. The SensationALL top-up cards are valid for the holiday sessions too. #SensationALL

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CML take on a “SensationALL” project

A team of volunteers from Aberdeen-based midstream infrastructure business CATS Management Limited (CML) have shown their ongoing commitment to local charity SensationALL by rolling up their sleeves for two days of DIY activities for the second year running.

SensationALL provides support and multi-sensory experiences for children and adults with disabilities and multiple support needs, their families and associated professionals. In 2016, the charity was successful in its application for a Community Asset Transfer from Aberdeenshire Council for the Old Schoolhouse building in Westhill and is now working towards transforming it into a purpose-built facility.

In 2017, CML funded the purchase and installation of a new summer house and was involved in painting, gardening and general maintenance. This year’s support included removing and replacing cupboards, painting the main activity room and upgrading the outdoor garden space. CML also donated £5,000 to cover the cost of new flooring and storage units.

Suz Strachan, operational lead and co-founder of SensationALL, said: “The support that we have received from CML is overwhelming. Their team are a dynamic bunch who power through maintenance tasks that our small team simply don’t have the time or resources to do. Their enthusiasm for what we do at SensationALL is fantastic and we love having them onsite.”

SensationALL is staffed by experienced specialist practitioners who deliver therapeutic sensory based activities that promote early intervention for individuals with support needs such as autism as well as those with learning disabilities and neurodevelopmental conditions.

Suz Strachan added: “This year we are particularly excited that in addition to all the internal work, CML have helped us upcycle some items donated by the AWPR. The new seating area will be used for outdoor learning as it enables us to take groups outside and utilise the sights, sounds and smells of our garden as a sensory experience.”

Andy Hessell, managing director of CML, said: “As a small, independent charity, SensationALL relies on companies like CML to help it achieve its goal of creating a safe, stimulating and practical environment for the people they support. We have seen first-hand the positive difference SensationALL has on individuals, their families and the local community, and are delighted to continue to support Suz and her inspirational team.”

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SensationALL welcome new faces to the team

More than halfway through the year and our SensationALL team have been busier than ever ! As well as being the gold charity sponsors at Run Balmoral in April, supporting our runners in the Baker 10k in May and being the charity partners for the Westhill 10k in June; we also had a stall at the Westhill Gala, Aberdeen Highland Games and the Westhill 10k. We have hosted our annual Tipsy Tea Party, ran a very successful April holiday events programme, launched our summer events programme and opened our newly refurbished and super fancy sensory room! To add to that list we have had Subsea 7 and M&S Westhill in the Old Schoolhouse giving the walls, garden and rooms a much needed make over.

As we approach the summer months and our school holiday programme of events, we are also delighted to welcome some new faces to the team! Gemma Ross joined the Services team as Services Practitioner, alongside Rebekah Moorhouse as Support Worker and Lisa Grainger as Volunteer Co-ordinator.

Talking about the new team members and the work SensationALL is doing at the moment, Suz Strachan, Team Lead, says: “We continue to adapt and make great developments in widening our team and our services. Building our team will help to strengthen our efforts going forward and give us a wider skill set to support our families living with children and adults with support needs.” 

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APACHE OPEN STATE-OF-THE-ART SENSORY ROOM IN SENSATIONALL

On the back of the Apache North Sea Limited donation to SensationALL, the local charity has reopened the newly refurbished Sensory Room!

As part of Apache’s Corporate Outreach Programme, the Kingswells-based company awarded the charity £30,000 and the donation went towards the renovation and repurposing of the Sensory room, transforming the old Sensory room into a state-of-art interactive space, with a higher specification and bespoke design around the user-needs.

The room was closed for almost a two week period whilst the redevelopment project was underway.

Suz Strachan, SensationALL Operational Team Lead, talks us through the transition of the Sensory Room and what the donation and new space means to the users : “we’ve managed for a number of years with second hand goods and a makeshift set up, starting off by revamping a cleaning cupboard in rented premises in 2012!”

Suz continues: “We now have more opportunities for users to control their environment; to use switches, self generating noise and Bluetooth technology to do so. We use this in combination with low tech resources and utilise the environment to engage in learning, offer choices and use an intensive interactive approach to promote optimal communication with all our users. The upgrading of our room brings us one step closer to achieving an inclusive flagship facility, with a community focus and reflects the specialist sensory based services that we provide.”

SensationALL evolved from the closure of the Raeden Centre (a facility for children with complex needs in Aberdeen) in the Summer of 2011 and the team originally rented facilities in Lawsondale where they ran family support sessions and hosted play sessions in the soft play centre; they became a registered Scottish charity in 2012.

In 2016, the team acquired the Old School and Schoolhouse building to transform into a purpose-built facility for the provision of specialist services and therapeutic activities for MSN users, as well as community facilities, including an out of school club and rooms available to community groups and local businesses.

The donation from Apache has enabled SensationALL to widen the benefits of use to more of their service users and takes the charity one step closer to their dream.

Patricia Paterson, Executive Assistant at Apache, opened the new Sensory Room and said: “I am absolutely delighted with the transformation of the old sensory room into a state of the interactive multi-purpose room!  Apache are privileged to have been able to make a difference in improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities”

You can view the clip of the Sensory Room renovation project here! #SensationALL

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Are you SensationALL?

SensationALL is a small charity with big ideas and we are growing… which gives us the opportunity to add to our team!

We are currently recruiting for the following posts, based at the Old Schoolhouse, Westhill:

  • Service Practitioner
  • Sessional Support Worker

The successful candidates will be joining a dynamic, innovative and friendly team who provide support, advice and training in the field of multiple support needs (MSN) for people of all ages. You will work in a supportive environment, where you will be encouraged to bring new ideas to the table and put them into practice and watch things grow!

The Service Practitioner will be degree level qualified in a relevant field (Occupational / Speech Therapy,  Psychology, Teaching or similar) and will have a professional registration, such as HCPC, GTLS or SSSC. They will have some experience of working with children or adults with a disability and be able to evidence an appreciation of complex needs. They will have strong team skills; will enjoy researching and developing new ideas and will work towards leading some of our MSN sessions.

A detailed job description and person specification is available via email.

The Sessional Support Worker will have experience in working with young people and or adults with support needs and hold a qualification in that field or be willing to work towards one. They will have experience of leading small groups and activities and show an understanding and appreciation of MSN. Experience of working with volunteers is desirable but not essential.

A detailed job description and person specification is available via email.

These posts are offered on a temporary basis with the aim of making them permanent; selection will be based on CV review, with successful candidates being invited to interview and a relevant practical skills test. Interviews are likely to be held during the week commencing 2nd April 2018.

Read more about SensationALL here and see how full services here, you can also see 

To apply for either of the positions, please email a CV with covering letter to info@sensationall.org.uk by 30th March. #SensationALL

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New key appointments for SensationALL

Aberdeen charity SensationALL has recently added two key players to their team. Michael Goodlad, in the newly created role of Charity Development Manager and Ellie Turner as a Support Worker in the Services team.

Bob McCracken, chairman of SensationALL, told us “Michael and Ellie’s appointments is another exciting step towards achieving our goal of creating a first class community asset in Westhill. We are very grateful to The Tudor Trust and Aberdeen Charitable Foundation whose contributions have made the new Charity Development Manager role possible.”

In this role Michael will be responsible for driving forward the charity’s ambitious plans to create a vibrant community centre for the provision of services to people with disabilities, their families and carers, and address the need for enhanced indoor and outdoor play and recreational facilities. Ellie’s appointment significantly strengthens the charity’s capabilities to delivery the quality services they have become known for.

Michael hails from Shetland and maintains close contact with the islands. He has had a successful and varied business career including six years as Head of Finance and Support Services with Cornerstone Community Care in Aberdeen. He is a non-executive director of Instant Neighbour Charity, Aberdeen and a former non-executive director of Aberdeen Harbour Board.

Ellie first visited SensationALL in 2015 to photograph the sensory room for her final collection of work at Gray’s School of Art. Her brother has Autism and Ellie helped care for him from a young age, she has worked as a support worker for over two years and her work with textiles looks at the unique relationship people with Autism have with their environment, particularly on sensory stimulation.

Michael Goodlad says, “I am delighted to join SensationALL and to be able to contribute to their ambitious plans. I am impressed with how much they have achieved in the last five years and can already appreciate the dedication and vision of the existing staff, directors and volunteers.”

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