Awakening Senses

Lynsey Robinson, Sensory Trust

Awakening senses was a collaborative project between the Sensory Trust, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary Inclusion officers and the Eden Project. The day was run as part of the Community Service Volunteers (CSV) ‘Making a difference day’ that takes place every year.

The aim of the project was to involve a group of children with various impairments and disabilities from the local schools to share their opinions on the exhibits, facilities and experience of the Eden Project.

Awakening Senses Day. Children and volunteers in the Humid Tropics Biome at the Eden Project.

The Sensory Trust facilitated the day at Eden using techniques they have previously developed for consultation to establish and gain evidence for how the children felt, what they thought of specific exhibits and what the overall experience of Eden meant for them. The children who had generously given their time to volunteer for the day were very happy to share their opinions verbally with all the staff involved, and through the structured activities. They were able to help the staff understand the experience they were having and the sorts of provisions they needed to make their day both comfortable and enjoyable.

The project would not have been possible without funding support from the Cornwall Children’s Fund who recognises the value in asking the opinions of children who would not normally have the opportunity to share them.

The benefits of this project are not only for the individuals directly involved, through a feedback session to key Eden staff and a published project report on the Sensory Trust website the project can help inform future design and management decisions at the Eden Project and other people hoping to carry out similar consultation work at other sites.

Days like ‘Awakening Senses’ provide so much knowledge and insight for those involved they really do make a difference.

‘Awakening Senses’ was a great success because it was a simple day out with far reaching effects. By taking a group of disabled and impaired children to the Eden Project and asking them what they thought and how they felt, the Eden Project and the Sensory Trust will be more aware of the issues faced and be better equipped to provide an inclusive experience for future visitors.

All those involved in the project had their senses awakened, from Wild Cornwall to the steamy jungle, a balmy South Africa to a Mediterranean vegetable plot all and ending up in a building designed from a sunflower! It was a fantastic day for all those involved and we can’t wait to do it all again!

Awakening senses was made great by the children who took part, they gave their time and opinions freely making the day a complete success.

Stop Press

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