We are a London-based charity that provides support and services to disabled children and young people living in Greenwich and its neighbouring boroughs that are looking for funds to keep its sensory provision open to local schools and nurseries, childminders, voluntary and community groups and health and social care establishments.
For over 4 decades Greenwich Toy and Leisure Library has been fulfilling its aims and objectives - to demonstrate the importance of play and recreation in the development and empowerment of disabled children and young people; give parents and carers the information and skills to support them in their caring and development role; encourage self-advocacy and development of skills amongst young people and carers; and promote positive images of disability and raise awareness of the development needs of children and young people with disabilities - by providing good quality toys and specialist equipment; running play sessions, play schemes and clubs; and offering advice information and advocacy support to parents/carers in some of the most deprived/disadvantaged areas of Greenwich.
In 2016 we created a multi-sensory room. Multi- sensory rooms evolved from the Dutch concept of Snoezelen in the 1980's and are specifically designed to enable people with special needs to enjoy a very wide range of sensory experiences for therapy, learning, stimulation, relaxation and fun. The room at toy library which measures 12m by 4m offers a calm, safe, relaxing/stimulating and therapeutic environment for those children and young people with a range of profound physical and sensory processing issues to include autism, cerebral palsy, visual impairment, neurological and chronic anxiety disorders and brain injuires who are struggling in terms of their behaviour, communication, social interaction and learning. These are children and young people that find mainstream environments challenging; harsh lighting, loud, unexpected noises, certain smells, large crowds — can all trigger an adverse reaction.
The room, which is equipped with an impressive array of eye catching interactive equipment which includes bubble tubes, fibre optic curtains, tactile board, musical floor panel and infinity tunnel, offers low lighting and opportunity to stimulate the senses through sound, light and tactile experiences. It really is a hands on learning experience that is specifically designed to reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus, attention and communication and extend learning and enjoyment. The concept is to create events which focus on particular senses such as touch, vision, sound, smell and taste as well as the more abstract senses of well-being, space, time, togetherness. These can happen in many ways: through special sound and visual effects, tactile experiences, vibration, use of aromas and music — in many combinations and variations. The result is a very special room in which the child/adult can completely relax, or interact with and control all the elements. It gives people control, possibly for the first time in their lives and the results are impressive.
Here are just a few comments from a recent survey completed in March 2019.
'The children have really enjoyed and looked forward to their sessions. We have seen a big improvement in confidence in our younger children attending these sessions. The sensory room is a wonderful setting, something we are unable to provide at school invaluable to our pupils with autism and ADHD.' (GMS March 2019)
I like the sensory and sand. It makes me feel nice. I like the dancing floor.'
'One of the children has made fantastic progress recently at school with more eye contact, sounds, and awareness of others and responding to his name.' STAB March 2019
'The children absolutely enjoy this facility. It is lovely to see another side to their character when they arrive here.' STAB March 2019
Having witnessed first-hand the difference this facility makes, we passionately believe that this provision should be open to the local community and especially those disadvantaged, isolated children and young people whose well-being and learning are compromised by their physical and/or neurological difficulties.
We want to be able to continue to serve our local community by:-
Running inclusive stay and play sessions in the building, giving access to the sensory room, ball pool and outdoor space with its large inflatable, bikes and scooters.
Offering tailored sessions in the sensory room and ball pool to school children with additional needs.
Lending toys and specialist equipment to families, child minders and local voluntary groups.
Providing personalised sessions to young adults with sensory processing difficulties and older people with Alzheimer’s or dementia
Organising interactive music making sessions for the under 5's with a disability/special educational need.
Involving young adults with additional needs and parents/carers to make a
valuable contribution learn new skills and engage with others through volunteering.
A donation from yourselves would help keep this unique facility running in a deprived area of Greenwich and help extend it to the neighbouring boroughs of Bexley, Lewisham and Bromley where there is a dearth of activities for such groups and we very much hope that you will assist us to keep this unique facility running.