A Liverpool Hope University student is on a mission to secure a unique ‘sensory room’ for children with special needs - and she needs your help to raise funds.
Mature student Melissa Waddington is studying for a Masters degree in Youth and Community Development at Hope, and is also a key member of the University’s Community Engagement team.
Liverpool-native Melissa, 27, has been on placement with ‘Team Oasis’, a children's charity based in Dingle, south Liverpool.
It’s an organisation that works predominantly with children and young people who have additional needs and disabilities.
And while Melissa and her team has already secured £8,000 to begin work on the sensory room, she needs to find more money to complete it.
So what is a sensory room and why is it important?
Melissa explains: “A sensory room is a space designed for children with disabilities and it’s all about engaging the senses, particularly through sight, sound and touch.
“It’s completely sound-proofed so no external noises can penetrate the walls, there are special lights that beam calming patterns on the surfaces, as well as sensory toys, weighted blankets for children who ‘stim’ (aka ‘self-stimulatory behavior’) and we can also pipe calming music into the room.
“It’s a brilliant resource for children with Down’s syndrome, ADHD and Asperger’s, for example.
“And at this present moment, there’s no sensory room at all in the local community. The nearest one is near the city centre, which is obviously an issue for those who need to access a service like this in their local community.”
So far Melissa has secured initial funding from the True Colours Trust and she’s also approached Liverpool City Council to secure an extra £10,000.
But even with those funds earmarked, Melissa says Team Oasis still requires at least £2,000 more to really secure the completion of the initiative.
Melissa adds: “Right now we’re at stage one of the project, but we need to secure more funding to get the sensory room up and running by our target date of the end of September.
“There’s a huge need for a facility like this in Dingle and in September most of the children will be heading back to school, potentially even moving schools, at a time when stresses and anxieties are really exacerbated.
“The sensory room would represent a safe place for these individuals and their family members to come and really decompress.”
Team Oasis serve a broad range of the community, from young babies to young people in their late teens.
** If you’d like to help in terms of a donation, please head here to give funds to the sensory room, or to make a more general donation go to https://www.teamoasis.co.uk/ and click on the ‘Fundraising’ tab, which will provide you with several different options.