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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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

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