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Masterton galaxy a quiet space for kids

Masterton’s newest activity for kids has been revealed, after 18 months in the making.

Trust House Recreation Centre now has a Sensory Room for its daycare programme.

Venue manager Marilyn Sayers said it aimed to be a calm-but-interesting room for neurodiverse children that needed a quiet space after a busy school day.

“Some children have more needs than others and we wanted to recognise that and build a space specifically where they could come,” she said.

“The sensory idea was about how they could have texture, colour, sound, music and amazing artwork as well.”

The room was funded by Belgravia Leisure, the Recreation Centre’s Australia-owned management company.

Belgravia commissioned artist Morgana Peel to transform the main wall into an interactive and star-studded galaxy, once blackout curtains are drawn.

“I’ve made it UV reactive and glow in the dark as well,” Peel said.

“I’ve made quite a lot of things at head height so that the kids can be playing with them.

“We’ve also got some black-light torches so that the kids can use it as a light wall and draw on it in that way.

“Everything on here is to be touched by big kids, little kids, adults and the rest of the things are sensory, things you can touch and play with on the wall: open, shut, read.

“We have light tables, we have bubble machines, we have music.

“There’s a little bit for everyone.”

Peel said she didn’t have to go far for inspiration when asked to provide a galaxy.

“I have a love with glow and the dark things, I have a love with light.

“I thought that was just amazing and just having something that can pop, but also just sit in the background, is just what I would love to have in my own bedroom.”

The Masterton District Council, which owns the recreation centre, has approved of the concept from the beginning.

Manager of Community Facilities Corin Haines said the room’s goal fitted into a council-wide goal.

“A development like this is amazing because it means that it’s part of our journey to making sure that our facilities are far more inclusive,” he said.

“We’ve got a facility and a stadium which can be an amazing place to carry out recreation, to play sport etc.

But they can also be very challenging and loud environments that don’t always work for everybody, so we need to think about how we can include them and make them feel that this is part of their place as well.

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