Valley Leisure Centre opens council's first sensory room

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Mark Cooper and Henry McDowell officially open the brand new Sensory Room at the Valley Leisure Centre.
-Credit: (Image: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council)


A Newtownabbey leisure centre has opened the first of multiple sensory rooms to be developed across the council area's sites to create a more inclusive environment.

The sensory room at the Valley Leisure Centre was opened through a collaboration between Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and specialist educational equipment supplier Learning SPACE. The aim was to create a calming sensory environment for individuals, families and children with learning disabilities or specific needs, as well as adults seeking relief from stress.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper BEM, said the council are "thrilled" to introduce the first sensory room at the Valley Leisure Centre. He added: "Similar facilities will open soon in our other leisure centres, as part of our continuous efforts to eliminate barriers and foster an inclusive environment for individuals with sensory needs.

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“The Sensory Room will be a valuable addition to our existing programmes, including ‘Quiet Hour’ sessions and the Inclusive Summer Scheme. Our ultimate objective is to ensure that all visitors feel welcome here, and at the other facilities across the Borough, such as the recently opened sensory gardens.”

The Sensory Room provides interactive equipment to stimulate the senses and create a peaceful space for relaxation and enjoyment. It is open to all visitors during normal hours and is beneficial for those with sensory processing disorders, anxiety, autism, dementia or mental health challenges.

The room offers a holistic sensory experience with soothing light displays, tactile surfaces, and calming music to provide a therapeutic retreat for overstimulated individuals. This latest facility will complement other sites in the council area inclduing the Sensory Gardens at Antrim Castle Gardens, Ballyclare War Memorial Park, and Hazelbank Park.

To find out more about sensory rooms and sensory gardens available in the Borough, visit antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/accessibility

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