Help sprinkle a little stardust

Barndale House School, feature on sensory room. Margaret Kerr, Sadie Hunt and Daniel Rowell in the room as it is at present.
Barndale House School, feature on sensory room. Margaret Kerr, Sadie Hunt and Daniel Rowell in the room as it is at present.

An appeal has been launched to help special needs children enjoy an out-of-this-world experience at their school, while helping shape their futures.

Barndale House School in Alnwick caters for children between the ages of three and 19 who have severe learning difficulties, in many cases autism, which causes a deterioration of the senses.

To assist in their development, the school provides a so-called ‘sensory room’ which already contains an array of high-tech gadgets capable of providing stimulation through colour, sound and touch.

Children are even able to change projections and colours with the blink of an eye, but the rest of the room, including the soft furnishings, urgently needs modernising.

So school administration assistant Sally Carrigan decided to launch a campaign to raise £5,000 and bring the facilities up to date with a big bang.

“We have so much technology in here, yet the walls need attention, the floor needs tactile padding and even the beanbag seats need replacing,” said Sally.

“A great number of our children use the sensory room, which is a fantastic resource that benefits them in so many different ways.”

The scheme works by sponsoring ‘stars’, each with a different value ranging from up to £20 to more than £200.

Each star equates to different items on the school’s ‘galaxy wish-list’, ranging from cushions, pillows and shimmer curtains to electric bubble lamps, fibre optics and light defractors.

Every donor will receive a thank-you star featuring their name and also be mentioned in a galaxy-themed montage outside the sensory room.

“We’ve had a tremendous start to the campaign, with £1,795 donated so far, but we would like local businesses, organisations, charitable trusts, parents, carers and friends to buy stars,” Sally added.

“This is a facility which works so well, yet we could make it so much better.

“The room is in need of a lot of love and care to make it an incredible resource for us.”

The school aims to have the Galaxy Room ready by the start of the September term, so raising the rest of the money needed is a priority to allow for buying of equipment and redecoration.

Teaching assistant Margaret Kerr said: “The sensory room plays a very important part in school life and can be used to stimulate or relax pupils. It is also very useful in assisting with colour learning.”

As well as providing a broad and balanced daytime curriculum, Barndale House School also has residential facilities which run from Mondays to Thursdays during term time.

If you would like to get involved, you can contact Sally Carrigan at the Galaxy Sensory Room Appeal, Barndale House School, Howling Lane, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1DQ.

You can also call on 01665 602541 or visit www.barndale to download a donation form.

Sally can be contacted by email at admin@barndale