The SicKids Sensory Space

Sep 14, 2017
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Category: General

SicKids, a children and young people’s health charity working in the North West of England and in
Cambodia, held the grand opening of a The SicKids Sensory Space at North Manchester General Hospital on Wedesday 13th September 2017. Mr Barry Dixon CBE DL, performed the opening ceremony.

The sensory space is the first-of-its-kind in the region, and has been built thanks to the generosity ofSicKids’ supporters. The SicKids sensory room has been made possible through generous donations from our supporters, The Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund, The W O Street Charitable Foundation and The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Children's Emergency Department Endowment Fund.

Sensory facilities are proven to support the development of the senses – like touch, hearing and sight – through special lighting, music, tactile objects and a calming environment. While many hospitals and health centres in the UK have similar facilities in their children’s wards, there are very few with 21st Century equipment within their emergency departments.

The SicKids Sensory Space at North Manchester General Hospital is the first sensory facility opened by SicKids, which was founded in 2015 by a small group of volunteer Trustees. The charity’s vision is to
support the health and wellbeing of children and young people in both the North West and in
Cambodia, South East Asia. While the two regions are geographically and culturally divergent, the
Trustees of SicKids believe there are stark similarities and opportunities for health professionals in both
countries to share knowledge and develop strategies to relieve sickness and enhance the wellbeing of
children and young people.

Because of that, in November 2017 SicKids will open its second state-of-the-art sensory facility, this time at M’Lop Tapang, a non-governmental community project in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. SicKids believes this will be the first such facility in Cambodia, and will offer life-enhancing opportunities for many hundreds of children and young people with developmental delay, which, due to its link to conditions related to poverty, is prevalent in Cambodia.

The Sensory Space was designed by local children and their families, who volunteered to support the project with creative input and ideas to make the facility as welcoming, attractive and effective as
possible.

In attendance at the grand opening was Her Excellency Dr Rathchavy Soeung, Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Cambodia, who was keen to learn more about how children in
Cambodia will benefit when SicKids opens its second sensory space in November. M’Lop Tapang’s
Medical Team Leader, Ngov Chanravy, who is visiting the UK this week as part of a career development
opportunity co-funded by a SicKids grant, was also there.

Also present were the Trustees of SicKids (Professor Andrew Rowland, Den Carter, Dianne Cook and Dr Jimmy Stuart) as well as children and young people, and the volunteers who were involved in the design of the Sensory Space, and representatives from the North Manchester General Hospital leadership team.

To symbolise the unique partnership between SicKids and the diverse communities in the North West of England and Cambodia, the Trustees presented the Deputy Lieutenant and the Ambassador with friendship bracelets. The colourful bracelets, worn by SicKids’ Trustees, are hand-made by parents of children attending the M’Lop Tapang facility in Cambodia. The sale of each bracelet, for US$1.25, helps to support street living and street working children, young people, and their families, and keep children in school.

Mr Barry Dixon CBE DL, said, “I was delighted to welcome Her Excellency Dr Rathchavy Soeung to the fantastic city of Manchester, and to have the pleasure of opening the wonderful sensory space at North Manchester General Hospital. I’m sure it will make a great difference to the quality of care offered to children and young people. I look forward to hearing about the success of the facility, as well as the forthcoming opening of the sensory space in Cambodia.”