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By Lynda Bird

St. Paul’s, Port Dover has opened a Snoezelen Multi-Sensory room, a new and innovative approach to outreach.

Individuals and their caregivers can use the room at no cost, which was a key component in our outreach strategy, we wanted to ensure that anyone who could benefit from the room would be able to use it without worrying about the cost. Primate Linda and Bishop Todd both recognized the potential of this type of ministry and supported our efforts to secure Federal funding.

Snoezelen Multi-Sensory rooms are immersive and interactive environments that include sensory equipment and technology which will either stimulate the user’s mental activity, provide a relaxing environment, or promote interaction using lights, visuals, sounds, textures, and smells. Mirrors are an important tool in a sensory room and are strategically placed so the user can see what’s behind them and feel that they are in a safe environment.

Individuals of all ages who are dealing with mental health issues, social isolation, Alzheimer’s, dementia, PTSD, grief, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD and disabilities can benefit by spending time in a multi-sensory room.   

Funding for the room was obtained through the Government of Canada New Horizons for Seniors Program and the 100 Women who Care Norfolk.  In addition, we relied heavily on volunteers who contributed their time and talent to construct the room and install the Snoezelen equipment. The room opened in March and is being managed by a team of volunteers, only one of which is a member of St. Paul’s.

We launched an extensive marketing campaign utilizing social media, local radio, and newspapers to let people know about our new room and how to access it.  In addition, we have contacted relevant municipal and provincial agencies, local long term care facilities, municipal and provincial politicians, and community social service associations, to build awareness and speak with these associations about how they could utilize the room.

People who have used the room have expressed gratitude, talked about how they benefited from their time in the room, inquired about church services and some have even asked if we accept donations.  After just three weeks, we know the room will have a positive impact on our community.

For more information: 

 Lynda Bird is the Sensory Room Administrator at St. Paul’s, Port Dover

Sensory room at St. Paul's, Port Dover: