New £25,000 Immersive Room is ‘life-changing’ for Birch Wood students

A new £25,000 multi-sensory facility at Melton’s Birch Wood Area Special School has been described as ‘life-changing’ for students.

Thursday, 26th March 2020, 1:07 pm
Birch Wood Area Special School staff member Sarah Criddle enjoys one of the themes of the new Immersive Room with a pupil PHOTO TAKEN BEFORE NEW RESTRICTIONS ON SOCIAL DISTANCING EMN-200325-074726001

The Immersive Room gives the youngsters a total 4D experience with images and words being projected on to walls and floors and the option to include smells and other features to stimulate the senses.

Only a few students have been able to use the room so far in the short time it has been open and with only a small number of children of key workers currently in school as a a consequence of the coronavirus restrictions.

But it has thrilled those youngsters who have used it, according to Renee Downing, the school’s business manager.

Kirstie Foulds (of sponsors HSBC) and Renee Downing (Birch Wood Area Special School's business manager) cut the ribbon to open the school's new Immersive Room PHOTO TAKEN BEFORE NEW RESTRICTIONS ON SOCIAL DISTANCING EMN-200325-074653001

She told the Melton Times: “The old sensory room we had was great and it served a purpose but this brings us right up to date and means we can compete with other special schools who have one.

“It really is life-changing for students on what they can now experience and achieve.”

The room was paid for by a grant from the Melton branch of the HSBC bank after their employee Kirstie Foulds contacted the school to see how they could help with funding. The bank runs a scheme where it supports local community initiatives with cash donations.

Renee said: “We thought ‘let’s go big’ so we looked into getting an Immersive Room but when the quote came in at £25,000 we thought there was no way we would get the grant.

The new Immersive Room at Birch Wood Area Special School in Melton PHOTO TAKEN BEFORE NEW RESTRICTIONS ON SOCIAL DISTANCING EMN-200325-074737001

“But we did and we can’t thank Kirstie and HSBC enough for their support with this.”

The school is looking forward to all students returning when it is safe to do so when they can all enjoy their new Immersive Room.

Renee added: “The possibilites with the room are limitless.

“It’s completely interactive and as well as projecting thousands of pre-programmed images on the walls and floor there is a fabulous wind machine and the capability to have sensory aromas.

The new Immersive Room at Birch Wood Area Special School in Melton PHOTO TAKEN BEFORE NEW RESTRICTIONS ON SOCIAL DISTANCING EMN-200325-074642001

“It is a learning tool as well being a stimulating tool for students and we are so pleased to have it.”

NB: Images with this story were taken before new restrictions were imposed on social distancing.

The new Immersive Room at Birch Wood Area Special School in Melton PHOTO TAKEN BEFORE NEW RESTRICTIONS ON SOCIAL DISTANCING EMN-200325-074715001