Celebrations at Oaklands
27/10/2011Oaklands Respite Unit has officially opened their new sensory room and refurbished outdoor play area which will benefit the 41 children who use the facility. A new sign for the home which was produced by the young people in partnership with Artscare was also unveiled.
Anne McGinley, Deputy Manager, welcomed all the guests including the young people and their parents, Mayor of Armagh City Council Freda Donnelly and Southern Trust Chief Executive, Mairead McAlinden.
Opening the event, Anne thanked everyone for coming to Oaklands and said “As you can see we are quite a small unit, but as everyone comments, we are very homely. Today we are delighted to celebrate some good news, thank people and let you see the improvements we have made for the children and young people availing of the service.
“Recently we needed to make a few improvements, both inside and outside the Unit. This would not have been possible without the help and support from Friends of Oaklands, Moypark, Arts Care and the Trust.
“Friends of Oaklands donated funding towards the outdoor play area. The amount of space now provided for safe play is fantastic and the children love the freedom it provides.
“The sensory room is also a new addition, made possible by an extremely kind donation of £5,000 from Moy Park. We’re delighted that Brian Mooreland, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Moy Park, could join us for the celebration. The room is now used every day and staff wonder how they coped without it. It has made such a difference to the quality of respite provided to the children.
And finally, I wish to thank Arts Care who provided funding for Ciara Campbell to work on a pottery project with the children. They created the beautiful sign for the front of the house .The children really enjoyed these pottery sessions.
Speaking on behalf of Friends of Oakland Kathryn Taylor said ““Friends of Oaklands are delighted to have been able to fund these essential upgrades to the play area and multi-sensory room. It shows our continued commitment to the excellent work carried out at the respite unit”.
Speaking at the event , Mairead McAlinden, Chief Executive, Southern Trust said: “ I am delighted to officially open the outside play area, sensory room and Arts Care project and to see first-hand the benefits of partnership working. I would also like to add my thanks to Friends of Oaklands and Moypark for contributing funding to the new facilities within Oaklands It is a pleasure to meet with staff, parents and children and to hear how much the service is valued and the impact it makes on the lives of the families who use it. It is also great to hear of the genuine affection for the staff and how much they do for the children and their families to make Oaklands a home from home. Hearing respite described as a sleep-over with friends demonstrates everything we are striving to achieve.”
There were speeches from Paul Morgan, Director of Children and Young People, Kate Courtney, Chair of Armagh and Dungannon Artscare, Ursula Mackle who attends Oaklands also performed for guests.