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Multi Sensory Centre opening soon at QEII Park

22 August 2003

The Southern Centre QE II Park - a multi sensory environment, designed for people with disability will be officially opened by Christchurch Deputy Mayor Lesley Keast on Monday 1 September.

Development of the Centre has been a long thorough process but the result is much more than we had ever hoped for, says the Centre’s co-ordinator, Sarah Kelly.

“We now have a world class facility that offers a wide range of recreation and leisure experiences for people with profound and multiple disabilities,” she says.

Among the Centre’s many high-tech features are a bubble wall with eight bubble tubes that change colour and produce sounds; a light zone with an ultra violet light display; a theromin or musical instrument that is activated by the proximity of the body, an interactive sound floor, and a bungy chair.

“ It really is a magical space giving people with disability the opportunity to explore different sensory experiences at their own pace in a safe, fun environment,” Sarah says.

The Southern Centre is a project of Turning Point 2000 Children 2000. On the closure of Turning Point 2000 in April 2001, funding for the centre was passed to Christchurch City Council Leisure, to continue the project. Funding for the co-ordinator’s position is provided by Christchurch City Council Leisure.

“ The Centre has been named the Southern Centre in recognition of the partnership with the Southern Trust that enabled us to design and make some of our most exciting equipment,” Sarah says. “Substantial assistance has also come from our other principal partner the Kiwanis International New Zealand South Pacific District Division Eleven Clubs, who with the backing of Lesley Keast have supported the project from its inception. ”

Many charitable trusts throughout New Zealand have contributed funds to the project, including The Community Trust, Lottery Grants Board and The Gama Foundation.

Christchurch architect Ross Maguire designed the Centre, with several Christchurch companies producing the custom designed equipment. The project has also had a tremendous amount of support from community organisations, who have given their time and skills, Sarah says.

While the Southern Centre is open to everybody, priority will be given to people with disability, their families and caregivers. “Teachers and therapists are also expected to make good use of the Centre and it will be a great complement to the other recreational facilities at QEII,” Sarah says. The facility is predicted to be well patronised by people from throughout the South Island

The Southern Centre will be open for bookings from 15 September. Bookings can be made through the QEII Swim Smart Booking Office, Ph 941 7118, Fax: 941 7182 Email:

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