A sensory safe space for children and young adults with special educational needs will bring ‘Christmas Calm’ to Eastbourne this weekend.
Aimed at soothing youngsters in a busy, stressful environment, the tent is the first of its kind in town and is packed with cushions, sensory toys, blankets and noise mufflers.
Organised by Eastbourne Christmas Market and St. John’s School and College, the sessions run from 10am to 1pm every Tuesday during the market and will also be available this Saturday (December 15) from 11am-3pm.
Stephen Holt, of Eastbourne unLtd Chamber of Commerce said, “Christmas is a time for everyone in the community. We’ve spoken to many parents who say that they are worried about bringing their children to the town as they are not sure if they would be able to cope with the noise and activity.
“We are working with St Johns School and College in Seaford who are providing the first ever outdoor ‘sensory safe space’ for anyone with special educational needs to be able to take some time out and be able to settle down, calm down or relax and enjoy the Christmas market.”
Additionally, there will be a session at the View Hotel as part of its SEND Santa Sunday, this Sunday (December 16) at the hotel.
Tina Reed, Marketing Manager at The View said, “We know the Christmas period can be stressful and even more so when you have a young person with special needs.
“We want the whole family to come and enjoy their Santa experience, by partnering with St. John’s and offering their safe space and expertise we can support our local families and hopefully take some of that stress away too.”
The event runs from 10am-4pm, call 01323 433903 to book.
And Emma Millar, Fundraising manager for St. John’s School and College said, “We wanted to produce a safe environment for our learners to attend events in the community.
“When we looked into it we realised that lots of families would regularly stay away from events as disabled platform and loo, just wasn’t sufficient or supported their needs.
“In fact a safe and quiet space as well as the platform was needed, making the experience and journey to and from an event smooth, reduce anxiety or heightened behaviour; which could all become very traumatic for the individual.
“After fundraising for and designing a bespoke outdoor safe space, we are delighted to be launching it at this year’s Christmas market in Eastbourne – the first of its type in the UK!
“Inside this space will be cushions, sensory toys, weighted blankets and noise mufflers to support the parents and child.
“We hope this will be the start of Eastbourne events becoming more inclusive and we look forward to working with community groups and local events in the New Year!”