Buttercrane £20k investment in Sensory Zone and ‘Space to Change’ disabled facility

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Monday, September 14th, 2015
Business, Community
Buttercrane have invested £20k in upgrading their toilet facilities to include a parent room with integrated sensory zone and a unique ‘Space to Change’ facility for children and young adults with disabilities.
11 year old Dylan and his sister Orla Mai in the Sensory Zone in Buttercrane Shopping Centre, a first for NI

11 year old Dylan and his sister Orla Mai in the Sensory Zone in Buttercrane Shopping Centre

The sensory zone is unique in this region and an NI first for a Shopping Centre. It was launched today with Autism NI Newry and Mourne Branch. The Parent room changes into a sensory zone at the touch of a button for children with autistic spectrum disorder or SPD who need a quiet place to deal with sensory overload. Peter Murray, Centre Manager said, “The suggestion of a sensory zone came up through discussions with committee members of Autism NI Newry and Mourne branch around Autism Week last year, and we’re thrilled to be able to launch this sensory facility to help families to deal with sensory overload if it happens while out shopping.” The sensory room has electric blinds to shut out daylight, changeable coloured light; a ceiling to floor bubble tube with colour changing options and padded seating and a wall mounted padded xylophone and a projector with calming colours/shapes. “On an ongoing basis Buttercrane will also remove the mall music and reduce interior lighting as much as possible and limit public address messages every Wednesday evening and Saturday mornings until 12 noon and they are encouraging tenants to replicate the initiative,” Peter added. Buttercrane are also supporting the ‘Space to Change’ campaign to provide families of children with special needs with appropriate toileting facilities. The Centre is one of the first in NI to be awarded an Orange Award for installing a Space to Change with an adult length, height adjustable changing bench in the Disabled bathroom. “Following some parent feedback and an approach from the Space to Change Campaign we realised this was a basic right for disabled children and a challenge for families with older children where a toddler bench is simply inadequate and began exploring what better solution we could offer our customers. Peter added, “We’d like to thank Shop Mobility for their assistance and Lloyds Foundation for part funding the adjustable bench.” Claire Smyth, Champion for Space to Change Campaign said, “I’m delighted to see this facility launched today. As part of our campaign we approached a number of venues on this issue and Peter was the first to respond to us so Buttercrane is indeed to be praised as an early adopter. “Our research indicates that 86% of families have had to leave a venue earlier than planned because it had poor changing facilities – this initiative from Buttercrane is a great example to other venues and shopping centre’s across Northern Ireland,” Claire added.
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