Lord's Taverners and BT to help 18,000 disabled children through extended partnership
Thanks to BT’s funding over the next three years, the Lord’s Taverners will provide grants to at least 13 new special education needs schools across the UK for the installation of multi-sensory rooms. In addition, BT is pledging to maintain all the specially-adapted classrooms that it has funded to 2020, including those installed under the original partnership period (2010 – 2013). Through this partnership, the Lord’s Taverners and BT will help to improve the lives of over 18,000 young people with severe disabilities and communication problems.
The multi-sensory rooms feature a relaxing and stimulating variety of lights, sounds and textures, which help children with disabilities to learn in an environment that suits their educational needs. They can result in dramatic benefits to children with sensory impairment, helping enhance development of senses such as hearing, sight, smell and touch. Sensory rooms also provide a distraction free area for children with autism and ADHD, helping enhance their learning experience and offering a retreat when necessary.
Details of the partnership extension were announced at Birch Wood School in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, by representatives from BT and the Lord’s Taverners, with support from BT Ambassador and Paralympic gold-medallist Jonnie Peacock. Birch Wood was the very first Leicestershire Area Special School to be opened in 2004, while its BT-funded multi-sensory room was completed last month, giving the school’s 138 students access to state-of-the-art sensory equipment.
Jonnie Peacock, BT Ambassador and Paralympian, said, “It’s essential that we do everything we can to improve the lives of young people with disabilities. To witness first-hand the effects that these multi-sensory rooms have on young people’s lives is incredible, and I am delighted to see BT working to increase the number of sensory rooms, which will help thousands of young people with disabilities all over the UK.”
Suzi Williams, BT Group Marketing and Brand Director, said, “We want to use the power of communications to make a better world, and the sensory rooms are a brilliant example of how technology can release potential and improve lives. I couldn’t be more delighted to be extending our partnership with the Lord’s Taverners, and look forward to working together to help thousands more young people with disabilities.”
Paul Robin, chief executive of the Lord’s Taverners, said, “The Lord’s Taverners is absolutely thrilled that BT has extended its commitment to provide vital funding and support to such an important initiative. The positive effects that these multi-sensory rooms have on the lives of young people with severe learning and physical disabilities are profound. Alongside BT, we are absolutely committed to achieving our aim of improving over 18,000 young people’s lives by 2020.”
BT is also launching a new volunteering initiative, the BT School Champions programme, matching a BT employee to each special needs school it’s supporting. BT has created a bespoke school charity portfolio of offers that the schools can benefit from – such as help creating a website - and each BT School Champion will work closely with their school’s leadership team to identify opportunities for BT to provide further support in the form of volunteers and fund-raising advice.
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