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

Share Button

SensationALL christmas present ideas

At this time of year, the SensationALL team are often asked for suggestions for Christmas presents or sticking filler ideas for multi support needs children. Our experienced team of Occupational Therapists and Support Workers often spend time researching products, toys and objects to not only use during our groups or at events, but also for training workshops! We have used some of these ideas to put together a starter-for-10 Christmas present list:

Special Needs Toys Website –  this is a great website with sensory specific sections for toys and equipment. From tactile to proprioceptive, this website covers all basis’ for sensory specific presents for unique individuals.

Sequin Snap Bracelet – these reversible sequin snap bracelets are good sensory fidgets that are wearable – our service users in the SensationALL holiday groups and Chill OOT especially loved using these. There are lots of other reversable sequin products such as cushions, pencil cases, backpacks etc that would also make for a great Christmas gift.

Infinity Loop – this is a stainless steel springy slinky for your arm. Our SensationALL service users have loved using these in our Inclusive Social Group and our sensory sessions. A simple but highly enjoyable interactive toy that provides endless fun.

Marks and Spencers Kids Easy Dressing Range – we love the special range of clothes M&S have created which are adapted for children who need extra help. With clothing options for anyone with feeding tubes or if they simply need clothes that are easy to put on and gentle for sensitive skin. The Easy Dressing range aims to help make dressing easier, quicker, more comfortable – and more fun!

Sensory Body Sock – body socks are a great resource to try out for individuals with multiple support needs. The resistant walls of the body sock provide a tactile means of self-referencing that improves body awareness and assists in developing spatial awareness through balance and resistance. At SensationALL we have used body socks in several of our social and emotional regulation groups and lots of the kids love them!

Our last Christmas gift idea is of course, the SensationALL gift card! Available to buy directly from SensationALL by emailing info@sensationall.org.uk or you can buy one from the Old Schoolhouse when you are at one of our groups or events. Each gift card costs £30 and provides 6 hour long sessions at any of our groups! A great gift to access SensationALL’s exciting range of services. #SensationALL

Share Button

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

Share Button

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.”

Share Button

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.” 

Share Button

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

Share Button

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

Share Button

Sensory Playgroup Round Up

Our first Sensory Playgroup of 2018 is done and dusted! This is a relatively new group for SensationALL and ran once towards the end of 2017. This session ran on Thursday mornings for a 4-week block and was fully booked within weeks of being announced! The next session for term 1 starts on 01st March and runs on a Thursday from 1pm – 2pm (01 March to 22nd March).

The Sensory Playgroup is held in the Old Schoolhouse and run by experienced practitioners. Each week is themed and the group spend time in our soft play room and the sensory room too.

In this recent block we followed four themes:

  1. Transport
  2. Farm Yard
  3. Monsters
  4. Rainbow

Each week we had different sensory trays exploring textures, smells and surfaces that related to the theme. We also had a sensory story for each theme and ended the sessions with a period of relaxation for the children, this usually took place in our Sensory Room or the soft play room.

Here’s what some of the parents and carers had to say about out recent Sensory Playgroup:                                                                                                                                                                                                          

“…I feel that as they [SensationALL service practitioners] use Makaton it helps enforce using it and it’s the only group we’ve been to that uses it.”

“…I don’t feel like my child is the ‘odd’ one out at this group, it’s more inclusive and not judging.”

“It’s a chance to meet other parents.”

“…useful to guide and play with him at home.”

“The ideas and knowledge of the staff are great strengths of the group.”

“The group is very relaxed and accepting. Positive and progressive approach for the child.”

We had amazing feedback from our parents and carers and the children enjoyed exploring the different sensory experiences available to them. We can’t wait to start the next block!  

To sign up for the next block of Sensory Playgroup (01 March to 22 March from 1pm to 2pm), please email info@sensationall.org.uk or telephone 01224 746699 #SensationALL

Share Button

Stay-and-Play at SensationALL

The SensationALL team have been running stay-and-play sessions since November 2011. The play sessions take place in the Old School House, Westhill, and run twice a month on alternating Sunday’s, families book a time slot and “stay and play” for an hour, our qualified Service Practitioners are on hand too.

First Term 2018 Stay-and-Play dates:-

  1. Sunday, 03rd June
  2. Sunday, 17th June
  3. Sunday, 01st July

The Old Schoolhouse has a soft play area, a sensory room and a coffee lounge area, all-inclusive is the driving force behind our charity and we welcome ASN (additional sensory needs) children and their siblings to our play sessions.

Stay-and-play sessions cater for both families based in Aberdeen City and Shire, but also for those on holiday in the North East or travelling through. Play is vital for child development and soft play is a great environment for children to develop motor skills, particularly those gross motor skills such as jumping, spinning and running.

The sessions give children with MSN (multi sensory needs) the opportunity to to be stimulated and explore their surroundings in a safe and friendly environment with experienced and knowledgeable Service Practitioners. It is also a great chance to meet other parents/carers and for siblings to join in the fun too!

SensationALL Services Practitioner, Mhairi says: “giving a child with MSN regular visits to a sensory environment such as SensationALL’s safe sensory room where they can be supported by experienced staff and attending the stay-and-play sessions in the Old Schoolhouse can help stimulate senses, help children relax and explore new experiences and build sensory tolerances”.

Email info@sensationall.org.uk  or contact 01224 746699 to book a stay-and-play session. #SensationALL

Share Button

SensationALL & Schools Out! inclusive partnerships

This year we are celebrating our fifth birthday! We have achieved so much since we registered our charity back in 2012, now employing six staff and working towards the Community Asset Transfer of the Old Schoolhouse in Westhill too. In 2017, SensationALL have also set-up an associated social enterprise business, Schools Out! Club, to provide a much needed out of school care provision in Westhill.

It’s early days for this start-up organisation, nicknamed SOC Westhill; and numbers are on the rise as more families in the area become aware of it’s existence. The Schools Out! club has access to two multi-purpose activity rooms, a small soft play area, outdoor play space and a wide range of resources; just some of the benefits of operating from the same Old Schoolhouse facility as the associated charity.

From this partnership, a joint monthly after-school social group has developed, including children with and without support needs. Children who already attend the Schools Out! club have the option to join the SensationALL Social Group, which runs the first Wednesday of every month between 4.30pm and 6pm. This Inclusive Social Group is for primary-school aged children and their siblings; and is a safe environment perfect for building friendships, learning new skills and having fun.  

Diane Forbes, the manager of Schools Out! club says: “the joint group provides opportunities for more peer contact, a wider range of activities, socialising and fun!”.

Suz Strachan, Operational and Service Lead for SensationALL, tells us that the monthly Social Group “completely reflects the inclusive ethos of SensationALL and all that we are trying to achieve and promote in the local Westhill community”.

Suz continues: “We offer our service users a safe environment to enjoy themselves and more importantly, to be themselves whilst benefitting from specialist support from the staff to optimise valuable opportunities to socialise with peers.”

The Social Group is a drop-off and drop-in session on the first Wednesday of every month in the Old Schoolhouse, Westhill between 4.30pm and 6pm. The group is for primary school aged children and their siblings, and is £4 / person including snacks and refreshments. Contact SensationALL to book your space at info@sensationall.org.uk.

The Schools Out! Club is open for children from Elrick and Westhill Primary school and is a before and after-school’s club. Contact Diane directly for more information socwesthill@gmail.com. #SensationALL #SOCWesthill

Share Button