GB Olympians unveil new facility for Plymouth special needs youngsters
GB Olympic divers, Leon Taylor and Tonia Couch, were in Plymouth this week (27 February) to officially open a new sensory room for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties at Mill Ford Special School.
Mill Ford caters for 95 pupils aged 3 to 19 years with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties. The school’s new sensory room that will be unveiled by BT ambassador Taylor, who won silver at the 2004 Athens Games, and London 2012 diver Couch, will enhance pupils’ learning outcomes by improving their visual ability and decision making and improve the delivery of speech and language therapies.
Mill Ford Special School is the 13th school to benefit from the partnership between BT and The Lord’s Taverners. Together the two organisations have invested £400,000 over three years to install multi-sensory areas that will enhance the lives of thousands of youngsters with disabilities and learning difficulties across the UK.
Time spent in a sensory room has been shown to increase spatial awareness, concentration, relaxation and alertness. For young people with autism or severe communication difficulties, the stimulating and soothing properties of these rooms has been shown to calm their behaviour and make them more communicative and responsive.
Multi-sensory rooms feature a relaxing and stimulating variety of sights, sounds and textures which help disabled children to learn in an environment that suits their educational needs. Such rooms can result in dramatic benefit to children with sensory impairment, helping enhance the development of senses such as hearing, sight, smell and touch.
Michael Dunn, Regional Manager from BT, said: “BT has supported local community projects for many years and through our partnership with the Lord’s Taverners, we are proud to be able to help these Plymouth youngsters improve their communication skills. We are delighted to support Mill Ford Special School.”
Tim Berg, Acting Chief Executive of The Lord’s Taverners, said, “The Lord’s Taverners is dedicated to giving disadvantaged and disabled youngsters opportunities through sport and recreation. Our partnership with BT has given even more young people across the UK a sporting chance in today’s world. We are proud to support the staff, parents and young people of Mill Ford Special School.”
The partnership between BT and The Lord’s Taverners is inspired by BT’s continued support of education and sporting initiatives through its London 2012 programme. In addition to installing sensory rooms, BT staff members will volunteer at The Lord’s Taverners youth sports events and fundraise for the charity.