Skill aid for young disabled

Amy and John Cotter of Sandy Lane, Lowton
Amy and John Cotter of Sandy Lane, Lowton

CHILDREN and adults with learning disabilities are soon to have a multi-sensory centre in Wigan to help improve their skills.

Amy Cotter and her father-in-law John Cotter have formed Sensoriel, a community interest company, aiming to offer an interactive learning area for people who have special needs.

The pair are currently looking for a venue in Golborne or Lowton. Amy, 27, a mum-of-two from Lowton, said: “Research has shown that 7.3 per cent of children in the borough have a disability and so we want to set up a community hub, offering an interactive, safe play and relaxing environment.

“Our on-site cafe will offer a social space and support network for people to call in for a drink and a chat. Our sensory rooms will be adapted to individuals’ needs and will be available for hire.

“The spaces can be used for interactive, relaxation, bonding, safe play or for therapy. We also hope to run different support sessions, interactive story sessions and baby bonding sessions. We wanted to set up a multi-sensory centre in Wigan, as the nearest one is The Space Centre in Preston.

“We offer a non-judgemental environment for children with autism and other conditions such as Down’s Syndrome or ADHD. Wigan and Leigh Deaf Children Society have told us they are desperate for a space to meet. We will be able to put people in contact with organisations and agencies, as we aim to provide a hub of major support.

“We are looking at premises and hoping to open within the next six months.”

Funding has come from the National Lottery and other providers including the School of Social Entrepreneurs.

Amy, a volunteer for the Epiphany Trust, said the project was inspired by working with disadvantaged and disabled children in Romania.

She said: “Seeing the children interact for the first time doing simple sensory activities was amazing.”

A fun day will be held at Lowton Independent Methodist Church on June 29 where Amy will provide more information on Sensoriel. The event, open from 11am until 4pm, will include a bouncy castle, stalls with hand-made jewellery, face painting and woodworks.

Amy is also organising a sponsored 10-mile walk on May 11 along White Coppice and Darwen Tower to raise funds for the project. For more information e-mail info@sensoriel.co.uk, call Amy on 0789 992 4696 or through Facebook and Twitter @Sensoriel_CIC