Curtains up on school’s sensory theatre appeal
Tuesday 23rd January 2018 @ 09:06 by Tom Greggan
Dukinfield News

A school in Dukinfield for children with disabilities is turning to the community for help in funding a new sensory theatre.

Oakdale Primary School have launched a crowdfunding page in an attempt to raise £1,000, just a fraction of the overall cost of the project. One part of the theatre will be a soft play area for active children to expend energy, while the other part will be an immersive, sensory environment, where children with limited mobility can play.

Headteacher Linda Lester explained: “Some of these immersive, interactive environments can be set up so they’re very finely tuned and can react to very slight movements.

Some of our children are wheelchair users or are really compromised in terms of the amount of physical movement that they have, but if we can create an environment where with just a tiny amount of movement, they can make something amazing happen, just think how motivating that is for the children!”

So far, more than £700 has been donated on the crowdfunding page, with other initiatives in school also raising money. “The crowdfunding is just a small amount,” Mrs Lester said. “Our target is £1,000. Overall, we think the theatre is going to cost us a huge amount more than that.

“Already, we’ve had some raffles in school and parents have been really supportive, so we’ve got a little bit in out PTFA fund. We’re also applying for some grants and bids such as lottery funding or other pots of money that might be available.”

She continued: “People have been very generous; our parents get behind us. The interest in the crowdfunding site has been amazing. Our parents are just so generous with their time and with their donations.

“We also receive donations from our ex-colleagues. Recently, somebody who was an ex-member of staff died. Her family, instead of having flowers, they donated to the school. That was so lovely; it was so kind of them to think of Oakdale. When you work in a school like this, the children really get to you. You want to be able to support them so that they can achieve their very best.”

While the benefits to Oakdale’s pupils- who live across the borough- are obvious, it’s also hoped the new sensory theatre will become a community asset, with other disability groups, mainstream school children, baby groups and local youth organisations able to use it.

Mrs Lester said: “We’re going to be investing a lot of money into it. People are going to have to work really hard to help us get there so we want as many people as possible to benefit.”

It’s hoped the funding for the project will be in place by the end of the current school year, so work can be undertaken in the summer, ready for the new academic year in September.

To donate, you can visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sensory-theatre-project or send a donation to Oakdale School, Cheetham Hill Road, Dukinfield, SK16 5LD.