A sensory group for pre-school children with disabilities and additional needs has got under way at city respite centre Grace House.
The group, which is being run by Sunderland Portage Team, will offer the children the opportunity to enjoy a series of interactive play and learning sessions, adapted to their needs.
With help from the Joseph George Fucile Fund, the group have been invited to use the purpose-built facilities at Grace House, in particular the multi-sensory light room.
At the first session this week, a box of toys was presented to the group, donated by the Joseph George Fucile Fund, which was set up by Darren and Janine Fucile, after the death of their son Joseph.
Between 2011 and 2012, Joseph benefitted from the Portage service, and his parents were delighted to support the group by providing them with a range of toys.
Grace House chief executive Karen Parry said: “This is the first service for under fives to run at Grace House, which is a lovely addition to the respite and short-break care we will offer to five to 18-year-olds.
“It is fantastic that the group have had an immediate boost, by being given this box of toys from the Joseph George Fucile fund.”
Leanne Watson of the Sunderland Portage Team, said: “It is great to work with Grace House to run this new sensory group. They have the specialist equipment that we need, and the sheer size of the multi-sensory room means that we can invite up to six children to each session.
“They really benefit from the intense interaction and stimulation, while it is great for their parents to meet other families whose children have additional needs.”
Darren Fucile, from Joseph George Fucile Fund, said: “It is our pleasure to present the new sensory group at Grace House with these toys.
“Portage was of so much benefit to Joseph, that we hope that other families who use the service get as much out of it as we did.”
For more details on Grace House, go to www.gracehouse.co.uk.