Funding Success for Sensory Friendly Safe Spaces

Marg Hopper and Chantel Lennox with Council's Anna Joy displaying items in the Calm Kits
Marg Hopper and Chantel Lennox with Council's Anna Joy displaying items in the Calm Kits

Bellingen Shire Council has been successful in securing grant funding through the Northcott FundAbility Program to undertake the “Calm Kits for Sensory Friendly Safe Spaces” project. 

The grant application was submitted with support from Chantal Lennox of It Takes a Village and Marg Hopper from Awesome Kids OT.

The project will promote greater community inclusion of children with sensory processing challenges associated with autism and Asperger’s, and will raise awareness of challenges faced to increase empathy and understanding in the broader community.

The funding will be used to produce 15 Calm Kits, which will be distributed in locations in Dorrigo, Bellingen, Urunga and Mylestom including businesses, cafes, medical centres and childcare centres and will expand on the work already undertaken to provide Sensory Friendly Safe Spaces for children and families experiencing sensory stimulation overload. 

Four Calm Kits, which include a range of sensory tools are currently available at the Bellingen Library, Number 5 Church Street, Kombu Wholefoods and the Little Red Kitchen, but there has been much interest for other potential hosts about acquiring a kit.

The funding will also be used to develop a website which will be used as a platform for the project and will include information about the Calm Kit, how to participate, ordering a Kit or replacement components or just finding out more about Sensory Processing Challenges and the appropriate groups and services available locally that can provide support.

All interested businesses, groups or people wanting to learn more are invited to attend one of two information sessions where they will find out more about Sensory Processing Challenges and the Calm Kits.

The first session will held on Monday 1 May from 5.30pm to 6.30pm at the Bellingen Youth Hub and the second session will be on Monday 8 May from 5.30pm to 6.30pm at Hickory House, Hickory Street, Dorrigo. The information session will include a detailed explanation of the contents of the kit, instructions on the purpose and its use and planning for ongoing project sustainability.

Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr Dominic King said, “it is great news that Council has been able to secure funding to build on the success of the Sensory Friendly Safe Spaces project initiated by It Takes a Village and Awesome Kids OT in response to an identified community need. I look forward to supporting the roll out of this project in the community”.

For more information contact Anna Joy, Council’s Community Wellbeing Planning Officer on 66557300