Three year partnership will enhance the communications skills of disabled children - One of Britain's leading sports charities, The Lord's Taverners, has entered into a major partnership with BT to create 12 new sensory areas across the UK for children with learning difficulties and disabilities.
Together, BT and The Lord's Taverners are investing nearly £400,000 in the project, which will leave a lasting legacy in local communities across the UK.
The Lord's Taverners is a charity dedicated to providing sporting and recreational opportunities to disadvantaged and disabled children. In partnership with BT, this new project will allow many thousands of young people to benefit from a new type of learning environment that enables them to explore communication skills from an entirely new perspective.
Matthew Pattern, Chief Executive of The Lord's Taverners said, "We're delighted that BT has become a partner in this exciting project. Thanks to this initiative thousands of disabled children, and their families , are set to benefit from state-of-the-art therapeutic equipment. We are thrilled to be able to offer multi-sensory rooms that will have a lasting impact on so many lives."
Sir Mike Rake, BT Group chairman, said, "BT has a long history of supporting community projects and helping young people improve their communication skills. We're thrilled to be working with The Lord's Taverners to deliver these multi-sensory rooms, which will benefit thousands of children across the UK."
Time spent in a multi-sensory room has been shown to increase spatial awareness, concentration, relaxation and alertness. For children with autism or severe communication difficulties, the stimulating and soothing properties of these rooms has been shown to calm their behavior and make them more communicative and responsive.
Multi-sensory rooms feature a relaxing and stimulating variety of sights, sounds and textures which help disabled children to learn in an environment that suits their educational needs. Such rooms can result in dramatic benefit to children with sensory impairment, and they can enhance development of senses such as hearing, sight, smell and touch.
The first multi-sensory room funded by the partnership between The Lord's Taverners and BT will be created at the Seashell Trust in Manchester, who run schools and colleges for young people with significant communication difficulties. The launch is planned for May, to coincide with the start of the BT Paralympic World Cup. This is the largest annual international multi-sport competition in elite disability sport.
Dominic Tinner, Head of Development at the Royal School Manchester, which is operated by the Trust, said, "We are so very grateful to BT and The Lord's Taverners. The new sensory room will be extremely therapeutic for children, such as ours, with multi sensory impairments by providing a wonderful environment in which to stimulate the senses.
"For some of our children, the experience of the sensory room will stimulate reactions not witnessed before by teachers and carers. Lighting, sound effects, mirrors, bubble tubes, fiber optic multi-colored strands, a warm water mattress, music and aromatic oils will all help to enhance the experiences of the children."
This new venture between The Lord's Taverners and BT is inspired by BT's continued support of education and sporting initiatives through its London 2012 program and its role as an Official England 2018 World Cup Bid Partner. In addition to the creation of sensory rooms, BT people will become volunteers supporting Lord's Taverners activities and will also seek to raise funds for the charity.
The Lords Taverners helps young people, particularly those with social, environmental, physical or learning disadvantages, to enjoy cricket and other sporting and leisure activities.
The charity was founded in 1950 by a group of actors in the Tavern at Lord's Cricket Ground. They wished to give something back to the game they loved, their aim being to help and encourage young people to participate in the game of cricket, especially those who perhaps would not otherwise have the opportunity.
Over the years, the charitable mission has developed and broadened and they raise money through tireless work of members and volunteers across the country, often capitalizing on their celebrity network that has been a key strength since their foundation.
Fifty per cent of the funds awarded go to cricket projects - equipment and competitions for those young people playing the game at grass roots level in schools and clubs. The other half is awarded to special needs schools or organizations, supporting their work to encourage youngsters to participate in recreational activities and a wide range of disabled sports. The Taverners are passionate about providing mobility and they supply specially adapted minibuses at a rate of almost one a week. They are also one of the leading funders of sports wheelchairs.
The BT Paralympic World Cup runs from 25 to 31 May in Manchester, England.