The learning disability charity, Linkage, is to set up a multi-sensory library to help young people and adults with education, health or care needs across Greater Lincolnshire, following a grant of more than £370,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
Linkage, which operates a range of services to support people with learning disabilities, will create five jobs in the Linkage Sensory Library as a result of this £371,821 funding from the Reaching Communities programme.
The three-year project will kick-start Linkage’s 40th anniversary year in January 2016.
The aim is to encourage young people and adults with learning disabilities, autism, dementia and other health conditions to gain learning development and therapeutic benefits from a range of multi-sensory resources. One of the most eye-catching features will be a specially-adapted, fully-accessible project bus which will house both a sensory room and digital technology. This bus can travel around the county delivering roadshows and pre-arranged events to Lincolnshire schools, special educational needs’ (SEN) units and disability/parent carer groups. It can also go to respite care centres and dementia & palliative care centres, to maximise the benefit to as many potential users as possible.
Resources will include tactile story books, Easy Read resources, CDs and DVDs, ultra-violet products, music equipment, mirror balls, interactive bubble tubes, projectors, switch systems, vibrating shapes, light cubes, eye-gaze technology and iPad applications. The project will also feature a specially-adapted, fully-accessible project bus, incorporating a sensory room and housing our Immersion Box immersive technology amongst other digital resources which enables users to move shapes, colours and objects through gesture and movement.
The project could provide employment opportunities and work experience for Linkage students and clients as well as other volunteers.
Library resources will also be stored at three Linkage sites – at the Linkage College Weelsby Road Campus in Grimsby, Toynton All Saints near Spilsby and at Lincoln – and can be loaned to individuals, families, education, training, health and social care providers, including those working in dementia and palliative care settings. The jobs that this will create comprise a project co-ordinator, development workers, driver/technical administrator and graphic designer.
Project Manager Linda Grant says: “This is such great news for Linkage and people with learning disabilities and other additional needs. The bus means that we can bring the library to beneficiaries across Greater Lincolnshire and to major events in the community. This will make it much easier for individuals, organisations and schools to access, enjoy and gain real benefit from the sensory resources and facilities. Our beneficiaries are often the furthest away from opportunity and employment and are less visible in their communities. So this project gives a massive boost to the resources and facilities available to these individuals and their families, so they can become more confident and independent.”
Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund, England Grant-Making Director, said: “Providing people with learning disabilities with access to specialist equipment is a typical example of a project which will make a huge difference to the lives of many.”