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A sensory experience at The Southern Centre

10 September 2008

To: Chief Reporter From: CCC Communication Team

CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL MEDIA RELEASE

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Savouring a sensory experience at The Southern Centre

The international award-winning Southern Centre Multi-Sensory Experience at QEII is holding an Open Day on September 27 to celebrate five years of continued success.

The Centre will be showcasing its unique facility and what experiences are available for the public, by offering free tours of its innovative and empowering sensory environment.

People can tour the sensory room from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday, taking in experiences such as the bubble tubes, fibre optics, relaxing gel bed, specialised lighting, textures, smells an interactive sound floor and a bungy chair.

"It is a very interactive environment that stimulates all of your senses. It allows people of all abilities to explore, have fun and participate in an array of sensory experiences," says Amy Hartnell, Southern Centre Coordinator.

While the Southern Centre is open to everybody, it was designed to be inclusive and accessible particularly to people with disabilities, their families and support workers. "This Open Day is not only to inform the public of what is available but to allow people to experience this unique environment," says Ms Hartnell.

The Southern Centre became the winner of the World Leisure Award for Excellence in Innovation in 2006 because it utilises an extremely innovative system to control over 90 percent of the equipment in the room. "The computerised system allows us to change the centre in a variety of ways and continually keep the room very dynamic. Our easy to use switch system empowers people to choose their own environment, make changes and control their leisure time," says Ms Hartnell.

Due to a steady increase in participation since its opening in 2003, The Southern Centre has implemented new weekend opening hours of Monday - Sunday, 9am - 5pm. The new hours offers the public a greater convenience of attendance and it gives families the opportunity to experience the centre together.

Along with individual and group sessions, facility tours, birthday parties, training workshops and new weekend opening hours, the Centre also offers an "All Feet Can Dance" programme, with classes for adults and children. The innovative programme is a creative movement class designed to incorporate the equipment with funky music and dance.

A change in the pricing structure makes the sessions very affordable and a refined booking system for customers allows for more effective planning of sessions, says Ms Hartnell.

Ms Hartnell is looking to the Open Day to raise awareness of this innovative facility and give people the opportunity to experience what we have to offer. No bookings or fee are required for the Open Day sessions.

ends

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