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Soft play centre opens sensory room thanks to funding from Homes Plus

Babies and children are benefitting from a new sensory room thanks to a donation from the Homes Plus My Community Fund.

Little Rascals soft play centre, in Shrewsbury, was awarded funding by Homes Plus to help build the room which will provide a quiet, safe and relaxing space for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Little Rascals is a non-profit organisation that provides SEND specific play sessions and holiday clubs. The charity lost its sensory room last year after its previous facility, in Monkmoor, was forced to close.

Little Rascals’ business manager and Homes Plus customer, Jessica, described the closure as ‘a massive loss to the SEN community within Shropshire’ and made it her mission to fundraise enough money to build a new sensory room at their other venue in Bicton Heath.

Now after successfully applying for funding from the Homes Plus My Community Fund, which supports local community initiatives, the new sensory room is up and running.

Jessica said: “It was so heartbreaking when we lost our sensory room last year and we’ve worked really hard to be able to raise enough money to replace it.

“The money that Homes Plus provided has helped us to build the room and to pay for the equipment inside it. We’ve got bubble tubes, busy boards, sensory pillows, an infinity mirror and an interactive light game.

“Our staff, volunteers, friends and family all gave up their own time to help put the room together. Everyone has been mucking in.

“Now we have a safe, calm and relaxing environment where children can go if they are feeling over stimulated or overwhelmed.

“It feels so rewarding to see the children enjoying it. It makes me feel so good.”

As well as the newly built sensory room, Little Rascals also has an indoor play area which holds SEND only sessions on Wednesday afternoons. It can also cater for parties.

Jessica added: “We’ve had people coming from as far as Telford, Oswestry and even Wales to use the new sensory room.

“We’ve started working with Crossbar who have been bringing their SEND children here to use the room and Holy Trinity nursery have used it with their children.

“We’re also going to be starting baby massage classes in the room soon and of course it is also open to the public or it can be booked out privately.”

The Homes Plus My Community Fund is delivered in partnership with Jewson.

Sam Allcott is Director of Housing at Homes Plus and explained why the housing association chose to support Little Rascals. She said: “It has been fantastic to play a part in bringing this new sensory room to Little Rascals.

“It’s a great example of how we can support local community projects and it’s fantastic to know that the children are already loving the room.

“I’m sure they will benefit tremendously from having this new facility on their doorstep.”

Learn more about the Homes Plus My Community Fund and apply for grants online at www.homesplus.co.uk/help-and-advice/the-my-community-fund/