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Christchurch's multi-sensory centre gets an upgrade

Wednesday, October 30, 2019   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: recreation, disabilities, children

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 30th October 2019

Children and adults with special needs will soon get even more of a multi-sensory experience at Pioneer’s Southern Centre after a funding boost.

The Southern Centre Charitable Trust works in partnership with Christchurch City Council to run the centre. They have raised $45,233 after making a funding application to Southern Trust in Dunedin.

The Southern Centre - on the first floor of the Pioneer Recreation and Sport Centre - gives visitors the opportunity to make sounds, feel vibrations, experience smells, touch different textures, and move lights around the room.

The extra funding will allow for an upgrade to the computer system that controls the centre’s interactive equipment in the room, allowing different pieces of equipment to be easily activated by switches.

The new programme is being developed now and will be in place early next year.

The Southern Centre environment is designed for pre-schoolers, children and adults who have physical or intellectual disabilities, and those who suffer from anxiety or other mental health issues.

Trust Chair Craig Scott says the computer upgrade will make a huge difference to the centre’s clients.

“The old system was in desperate need of an upgrade and we’re really pleased to have been able to bring some improvements."

Council Head of Recreation, Sports and Events Nigel Cox says the centre is incredibly valuable to its clients. “Many residents might not know about the Southern Centre, but it’s an amazing place for the people who need it.

"There’s a lot of research showing the benefits of a multi-sensory environment, including promoting intellectual activity such as memory recall and encouraging relaxation and social skills.

“For some of the users it’s one of the few places they feel comfortable going outside their own homes. This funding increase to improve their experience is very welcome.”

The Southern Centre Charitable Trust is critical in sourcing specialist equipment not only for the Southern Centre but also the planned Aquatics Sensory Experience for the Metro Sports Facility currently being built on Antigua St.

The first Southern Centre was at QEII Recreation and Sport Centre until the February 2011 earthquake. It was later moved to Pioneer Recreation and Sport Centre.