M&S joins up with Mencap to provide state-of-art sensory room

Perfect partnership: Staff from both the Cree Centre and Marks & Spencer worked together to raise enough money for the new sensory room.
Perfect partnership: Staff from both the Cree Centre and Marks & Spencer worked together to raise enough money for the new sensory room.

Adults with learning disabilities are benefiting from a new state-of-the-art sensory room at Grantham and District Mencap’s Cree Centre.

Service users, their families, centre staff and friends were invited to an official opening ceremony on Wednesday as part of Marks and Spencer’s ‘Make it Matter’ day, which saw staff members from the local branch work in partnership with the Cree Centre.

‘Make it Matter’ is part of the recently launched M&S campaign ‘Spend It Well’, which is about inspiring people to make every moment special by focusing on the experiences, people and things that really matter in life.

The Grantham store has spent the last year fund-raising for the centre, which was chosen by staff who wanted to assist a local charity in the community. Working alongside each other, it was a joint aspiration to use the funds raised to help refurbish several rooms in the centre, with the main focus being on the much-needed sensory room.

M&S managed to raise £4,500 with the Cree Centre raising the rest through events including bag packing, a silent auction and a bowling night, with all funds raised going towards a new sensory projector and flooring totalling £6,500.

It didn’t just stop at fund-raising though, as 15 M&S staff members rolled up their sleeves on Monday to help paint and decorate the room, ready for the grand unveiling on Wednesday, to celebrate completing the project.

M&S store manager Jeanette Portman said: “Volunteering can make a profound difference to the communities in which we live and work and we believe that lots of small actions from lots of people can collectively have a huge impact.”

Cree Centre manager Sue Crawford has worked there for 21 years and has not seen a fund-raising project on this scale before. She said: “We have been trying to develop the room for some time now. It now meets all members’ sensory needs and opens them up to new experiences, from our youngest to our eldest member who is in his seventies. I am very proud.”

Care assistant Jane Speechley added: “It was dull and difficult to use the hoisting equipment. Our members can now stretch out, enjoy their surroundings and have fun. We have been overwhelmed with the support from local companies donating raffle prizes.”

The Cree Centre was opened by carers in 1975 to provide support and daytime activities to local people with a learning disability. For more information, call 01476 566050