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Blackburn Youth Zone is quite an amazing place with such facilities as a climbing wall, basket ball, dance, music, arts and crafts, pool, table tennis, fully equipped gym and even a football pitch on the roof!
Together with Blackburn with Darwen Council, who backed the Youth Zone idea from the initial concept, local businesses who came on board as Founder Patrons and a £6m grant from the previous government’s MyPlace scheme, land was secured and building work commenced resulting in Blackburn Youth Zone opening to young people in June 2012.
Blackburn Youth Zone is a 21st century youth hub for young people aged 8 to 18 years old, aiming to irrevocably change the prospects offered to young people in the area. They currently have in excess of 3,000 members with approximately 1,000 visits per week. With around 200 of the members suffering from some sort of disability, with 25% with Autism, there was felt to be a pressing need for an area where these members could ‘break-out’ and yet still be in close contact with the activities being pursued in the club.
A sensory room was therefore planned to be directly off the main reception/lounge area but there was obviously a need to provide the right equipment to provide the relaxation therapy needed by it’s users. In 2014, after an application by the East Ribble District, a Community Fund Grant was secured to purchase a professional Sensory Room Package.
The equipment included a sparkle sensory harness, bubble tube, soundboard, fibre optic curtain and body rocker; all intended to stimulate senses of sight, sound, touch, balance and smell.
The room allows members with special needs to go to ‘chill out’ and calm while staying inclusive to the clubs main activities. As a result of the success of this room there has been a gain in members of some 25% over the past year together with a link up with local special needs schools, who also use the facility.
On a recent visit we met with Laura Jones, Events Manager and Sarah Johns, Head of Support Services, who could not praise the ELMC highly enough for the benefits the sensory equipment had brought to the club and it’s young people.
This may be considered a very worthwhile grant, well spent and giving enormous extra value to the lives of the many young people who need and use the facility.
To find out more about this amazing facility visit http://www.blackburnyz.org