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Fundraise on the First: How youngsters thrive with First Step’s support

PUBLISHED: 08:30 09 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:10 20 January 2015

Play worker Kaylie Cracknell with youngsters and a parent in the sensory room

Play worker Kaylie Cracknell with youngsters and a parent in the sensory room

Archant

Upon entering First Step, you immediately understand why families consider it to be a second home.

Debbie Bennett from First Step with one of the childrenDebbie Bennett from First Step with one of the children

The building greets visitors with a warm and welcoming environment, from the tiny ceramic handprints and footprints on the wall, to the infectious sounds of children laughing and playing.

A clear favourite for the youngsters is the enchanting multi-sensory room, a comfortable setting which boasts colourful lighting, bubble tubes and a pouffe which vibrates to music for children who cannot hear.

Play worker Kaylie Cracknell said: “We take them in there to use all of their senses through developmental play.

“It can help them to experience things that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

Fundraising manager Michelle Mitchell in First Step's centreFundraising manager Michelle Mitchell in First Step's centre

“The children love it; if you take one the others all want to come as well.

“I love seeing their little steps as they progress. They don’t do things as quickly as you may expect, but it is much more rewarding when they do.”

First Step’s centre, in Tangmere Crescent, Hornchurch, also features a music therapy centre, where children can explore making sounds with instruments, and blue and green rooms where the play groups take place.

The first sessions offer individual play, while the PACC sessions (promoting attention, communication and cooperation) are for six youngsters who have social communication difficulties or autism spectrum disorders.

One of the children enjoying the bubble tube in the sensory roomOne of the children enjoying the bubble tube in the sensory room

The second group is designed to enhance their learning opportunities and methods of communication.

The charity, which also has a parents’ room, library area with advice books and a self-referral counselling service, could make even more of a difference with additional funds.

Charlotte Dickens, the service manager, said: “In an ideal world we would run all of the sessions five days a week, we could easily fill them.

“This is where donations really will make a massive difference.”

Staff Alison Denyer, Kim Watson and Debbie Bennett with some of the childrenStaff Alison Denyer, Kim Watson and Debbie Bennett with some of the children

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The Recorder and First Step are encouraging you and your friends, colleagues and neighbours to do something to raise money once a month throughout 2015.

We hope our Fundraise on the First campaign will see the community come together and have some fun while supporting the life-changing work of the charity.

This could be anything from a cake sale to a talent contest or sponsored silence.

Those who cannot hold their events on the first of

the month are still encouraged to take part and all fundraisers will receive certificates and letters of thanks.

To receive an information pack, call Michelle Mitchell on 01708 556355 or visit firststep.org.uk.

And to tell us about your event, email bethany.wyatt@archant.co.uk.


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