Themed area will be created as part of the first project of its kind in the UK
A themed sensory area will be created in Wimbledon Library as part of a service for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Each of Merton Council’s seven libraries will have its own theme, based on ideas such as mystical forests, space and water. The project is being funded by a £94,826 Arts Council England grant, and is the first of its kind in the UK.
Specialist books and an activity programme of events across the borough will also be offered for all children and with a particular focus on SEND children and their families.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Commerce, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding to create a sensory area in each library for all children to enjoy and benefit from, but specifically children with special educational needs or disabilities. This will be complemented by specialist books and resources as well as a dedicated arts and literature activity programme.
“This important project also entails the wider community and our library staff and volunteers will be working with our partners and schools to break down barriers and dispel misconceptions of special educational needs and disabilities, reduce isolation and open new doors of opportunity for children and their families. This innovative project is the first of its kind in the UK.”
Support will also be offered by the library service to the parents and carers of children with SEND, including social events and family activities to reduce isolation along with family learning courses provided by Merton’s adult learning providers. Library staff and volunteers will receive training in awareness of children with SEND and how to run activities for them.
The schools' library membership scheme will also be expanded to include all special schools with regular class visits set up.
May 28, 2019