People with learning disabilities in Redditch are set to benefit from a refurbished sensory room, after their support workers got on their bikes to raise over £1,700.
Robin Simcock and Simon Dyke work at a day opportunities service run by Hft, a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities. At the end of last year, the pair were inspired to take on a fundraising challenge which saw them cycle non-stop for eight hours, covering nearly 120 miles over the course of one day. Following a huge response from family members and other staff, £1,750 was raised, which is set to fund a sensory room makeover.
The dedicated duo work at a learning disability service in Redditch that supports over 50 local adults with learning disabilities to take part in day opportunities, and has been a lifeline for many people during the last year. Despite not being open to as many people as normal, staff have replaced their community-focused activities with a timetable intended to boost people’s wellbeing during a difficult time. With fewer day trips and visits to garden centres and pubs on offer, support workers have run art and craft sessions designed to stimulate people and soothe any anxieties they might be feeling. For those unable to receive face to face support, tablets have been used to keep people in touch with their support staff.
Thanks to Simon and Rob’s fundraiser, the service’s sensory room is now set to benefit from a makeover, with work already underway and due to be completed by the end of the month. Plans are in place to equip the room with sensory equipment including coloured lights, bubble tubes, stress balls and beanbags, all designed to stimulate the senses by using sound and textures. Staff hope the refurbished room will form a peaceful sanctuary where supported people can enjoy some quiet time away from any stresses in their lives.
Simon Dyke has been a support worker at Hft for over nine years, while Robin Simcock joined the charity six months ago. Simon said: “The pandemic has been really tough on the people we support, so while I was cycling on my exercise bike at home one day I came up with an idea to put a smile on everyone’s faces. Our sensory room needed updating and I wanted to come up with something that would really benefit people so it was a no brainer. It was a tough challenge but our passion for the people we support was our total focus and I’m proud that we did it. The donations and encouragement from everyone who sponsored us have been incredible.”
Gail Beasley, Registered Cluster Manager at Hft, said: “I’m so proud of what Simon and Rob have achieved, and am so looking forward to seeing the people we support enjoy their revamped sensory space. Support workers like Simon and Rob are a shining example of the impact social care staff have made all over the country throughout the pandemic. Whether they’ve been supporting people for nearly a decade like Simon, or have only just joined the sector like Robin, our support workers have shown a huge amount of dedication and resilience in the last year. If anyone thinks they might like to join a team where they can make a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities every day, please contact Hft to find out more.”