‘Touchy feely’ toys on the bus

A service for families with disabled children is looking for volunteers to help drive its newly-equipped ‘sensory bus’.

The Mid Sussex Rural Children and Family Centre has been given funding by the Early Childhood Service to re-equip its rural outreach bus. The bus has been divided into two halves, one with an information and seating point and the other set out as a ‘room’ with sensory toys including soft ‘touchy feely’ cushions, wall panels and fibre-optic lights.

JPMT 060313 WSCC launch of Sensory Bus. Craig Franklin. Photo by Derek Martin

JPMT 060313 WSCC launch of Sensory Bus. Craig Franklin. Photo by Derek Martin

The West Sussex County Council rural service is now looking for volunteer drivers to take the bus to families and its community partners so that those who could benefit from the equipment can discover what can be borrowed.

Family Information Service assistant Craig Franklin said: “We are a resources and sign-posting service for the whole of Mid Sussex and we want the bus to be an additional resource for all our partner organisations to use.”

Inside the bus there are walls with push-sensitive features that produce sounds and movement and a large screen where 10 different projections can be played.

The bus is already booked to go to the Sidney West Children and Family Centre in Burgess Hill once a fortnight with the next booking tomorrow (March 15).

The mobile facility is just one of the pieces of equipment that is available from the Mid Sussex Rural Children and Family Centre base at Highlands Farm, off London Road, Bolney, where an open day was held last week for partner organisations to see what is available for families to borrow to help stimulate and educate their disabled children. Besides the bus, the services boasts a Toy Library with nearly 100 pieces of equipment that can be borrowed by families for up to six weeks at a time.

There are also larger pieces of equipment such as chunky wedge cushions, an air mat, inflatable bouncer, sand and water trays and a massage mattress. Additionally, there are four sensory environments complete with toys that include den-making environments.

For info or to enquire about being a driver, for which you need a C1 licence, ring the centre on 01444 255477 or 471 or email Mid.sussex.rural@westsussex.gov.uk