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Sensory Kids NI also spend a lot of time training volunteers, including on safeguarding, counselling and mental health and wellbeing, so as they can reach more and more children and help them. Sensory Kids also works closely with local schools, to enable them to ensure support is there for children who have autism and learning difficulties. 


Last year they had planned to use the Black Santa money on outings/trips for the children. This obviously hasn’t been possible due to COVID, so they are instead primarily using the money to train volunteers on an initiative called “Six Bricks”. This is hands-on learning where children can learn physical skills, gross and fine motor skills, and teaches them how to work with teams, teaches them balance, concentration etc through play. It's engaging and it can be used at various levels of ability. 


Lots of single parent families, and families who have lost their jobs during COVID and are struggling financially reach out to Sensory Kids NI for help and support. This year, they want to use the money to help these families and provide the “Six Bricks'' initiative to them free of charge, where they wouldn’t normally be able to afford it.


Sensory Kids NI is all about families who have young people with autism and learning difficulties. Over the past 18 months in particular it has been very tough for many of them, and they have often got isolated in the house during COVID, and got very used to being in a different environment and not being out amongst people. Sensory Kids wants to reach those children to try and help and support them as best they can. 


Since COVID, there has been a substantial increase in demand for Sensory Kids’ services. The number of phone calls they have received from parents asking for help for their children, or advice on the best equipment for their child, has greatly increased in terms of demand. On a Saturday morning alone, Sensory Kids would see around 20 children.