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Community / Clickimin sensory rooms getting good feedback, local charity says

Photo: Brian Gray

LOCAL charity Ability Shetland has hailed two new sensory rooms which have opened at the Clickimin Leisure Complex in Lerwick.

Team leader Stephanie Bain said the feedback has been “so positive” and that parents of autistic children say it is an “invaluable addition” to the Clickimin.

The two sensory rooms – one themed ‘energise’ and the other designed for relaxation – opened at the Clickimin on Monday (11 July).

Sensory rooms are specially designed areas which combine a range of stimuli to help individuals develop and engage their senses in a safe environment.

The rooms feature an array of lights, colours, sounds and music through interactive equipment.

Both of the rooms can be booked by members of the public as well as schools, charities and groups.

They have been developed thanks to a grant from the Inspired Scotland Healthy Islands Fund.

Over £70,000 of funding has also been awarded to allow Clickimin operator Shetland Recreational Trust (SRT) to also purchase sensory equipment that can be transported and used in rural leisure centres.

While the sensory rooms can be enjoyed by all, both young and old, they can be particularly beneficial for people with additional support needs.

Bain said there was previously no resource like this available to the public in Shetland.

“We have a few bookings already coming up, for our holiday club and under fives group, and are looking forward to experiencing something quite different that is in a building very familiar to most people – reducing any added stress around transitions for those with additional support needs,” she said.

The relaxation sensory room. Photo: Brian Gray

“Many of the families who access our support have already been for a session and the feedback has been so positive – parents of autistic children have said it is an invaluable addition to Clickimin. 

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“It is great that people can hire it exclusively so it can be a complete stress-free experience for those who use it.”

Bain also said there was a hope that adults will make use of the rooms “as they can be so beneficial for many people, including those who are autistic or living with dementia”.

“We are also pleased that although these are in Lerwick, SRT have a mobile unit with sensory equipment that can be used at other leisure centres in Shetland so no one should feel excluded due to their location,” she added.

“It really is so encouraging that organisations such as the Shetland Recreational Trust are always considering how they can include all people in accessing their facilities and we are delighted to work in partnership with them on this and many other projects.”

SRT chief executive Steven Laidlaw said: “We are delighted to be able to offer such brilliant new facilities for our customers.

“These new rooms provide a service which is not publicly available anywhere else in Shetland and the project idea came directly out of public consultations and surveys undertaken by SRT.”

Each room costs £11.25 for a 45-minute session.

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