A cavalcade of cars, of Staff and of Volunteers set off from the Bluestack Special Needs Foundation in Donegal Town to deliver sensory support gift bags to help families to cope during the COVID-19 public health restrictions.
Supported by the Gardaí, and observing social distancing, this wonder team paid a visit to 70 children and young people across County Donegal in order to make their special deliveries.
During their normal school day or through various social events and clubs children and young people would ordinarily have an opportunity to utilise a variety of sensory stimulations, supporting them to manage behaviour in a positive and safe way. With the absence of these opportunities children and young peoples' stress was building up. Donegal identified that many families did not have the necessary and beneficial sensory toys in their homes; resources that could offer relief and help children and young people to cope while having to socially isolate. They were finding COVID-19 restrictions really difficult, were really missing their regular social outlets and becoming stressed.
The Sensory Support pack was originally an initiative of Lifestart Foundation CLG, who have researched the topic and produced tailored packs for children with additional needs, according to individual needs. Lifestart staff gave generously of their experience and expertise to support this project and even shared the resources that they had developed, which now form part of the pack.
A CYPSC-funded disability-focused event planned for Autumn 2020 has had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 so this funding was re-directed to support these children and young people with sensory support packs.
The project is supporting 4 local Charities to provide these tailored packs to the children and young people that use their services .220 packs in all.
The four charities are
- Bluestack Foundation
- Spraoi agus Sport
- Downs Syndrome Donegal
This project is bringing a moment of joy to children and young people and lifting the spirits of our families who at times are really struggling just now.
Huge thanks to the Bluestack Foundation Team, to Helga Tinneny and Mary Walker Callaghan from Lifestart Service CLG, and to the Economic Well-being and Disability Equality Sub-committee of Donegal CYPSC, who funded this initiative.
Thanks to Ray from @EuroGiant Donegal for sponsoring all the bags. Thanks to An Garda Síochána and volunteer Garda John Mc Loughlin for allowing this to be even possible in the current situation.
Finally thanks go to Ireland's national television station RTE and to Eileen Magnier for telling Donegal's story. You can watch RTE's coverage of this work here.
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