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Woodside Wonderland

02 December 2016

On Saturday 26th November, 9 RHS girls: Lara, Anna, Hannan, Willa, Alice, Izzy, Anna, Alice and Sophie volunteered at the Woodside family centre (Sense) to help with the Christmas party that they were running. The centre is for children and their families who are deafblind or have a multi-sensory impairment and has a number of rooms designed to stimulate the senses to motivate children to play, explore and learn. Some rooms contain black out curtains and projectors to create a variety of light effects and sound activators and microphones, allowing children to have fun with sound.

When we arrived, we were all briefed on what we would need to do on the day and given individual files which contained medical information about the children we would be caring for that day. We spent the whole day playing with our assigned children and encouraging them to explore the centre and awaken their senses. We started the day at 1:30 sitting in a circle singing a welcome song followed by a performance from an acting company who were dressed up as a bird and a crocodile! The children were transfixed by everything going on and were always smiling and laughing which was lovely to see. There was a lot of free time in the day to spend time with the children doing activities that they wanted to do which allowed us to develop a relationship with them and be able to support them better. We finished the day with a visit from Santa in his grotto who gave each child a present for Christmas and by that time, everyone was feeling so exhausted, some of them even fell asleep!

It was such a rewarding and humbling experience that taught me so much and it feels amazing knowing that you helped to make a difference in a child’s life. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and hope to be able to do it again soon.

A parent of one of the children commented “the volunteers make an amazing difference to both the child and parents – the ripple effect of a single act of love and kindness that has a far-reaching power and is so special and truly appreciated. Thank you everyone.”

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