COVID has provided at least one silver lining, with the pandemic’s lockdowns sparking an idea to create sensory activity centre for Sunraysia Residential Services NDIS participants to utilise.

Located in Lime Avenue, ‘SRS UNLIMITED’ has been carefully thought out and is a brilliantly equipped facility which compliments SRS’ other social enterprises and residential properties and will fill a newly identified void in their service provision.

SRS Specialist Disability Accommodation manager Amanda Battams said that COVID had highlighted the gap in this kind of service.

“We have had a lot of participants at home for extended periods of time,” she said.

“SRS has the Benetook Farm, which is an amazing program and activity location however the farm is not 100 per cent suitable for participants with extreme mobility or high medical support needs.

“The UNLIMITED centre will provide another opportunity to have further social engagement between all of our residential homes and for a variety of other purpose as well.”

SRS UNLIMITED manager Sarah Dick said it became apparent that Mildura was missing a day program specialising in sensory options.

“During the COVID pandemic there has been a big focus on the use of technology and that is the key feature of SRS UNLIMITED which will enable participants with a disability to undertake a range of interactive activities and therapies,” she said.

The famous Benetook Farm eggs will also be on sale from the hub though an open window servery.

“Our participants will be able to build on their capacities and part of that will see them selling the eggs and engaging with the public,” Sarah said.

“Participants’ NDIS goals are all about capacity building, enabling them to be able to undertake more activities and vocations.”

The new facility is amazing, incorporating an administration office, therapy rooms and a large accessible kitchen, and in between there are two relaxation rooms − ‘calming pods’ − which feature sensory mood lighting and soothing sounds and large screen televisions, where participants can spend some quiet relaxing-time.

There are also two areas that have tactile sensory walls, which will allow users to engage in a variety of tactile activities or sensory integration play.

Another feature of the centre is a big touch-screen, interactive TV, which has access to movies, the internet, video games and educational information and interactive apps.

There are also two interactive projectors, one of which display pictures on the wall, and another onto the floor allowing for games such as soccer to be played and other activities all of which can be activated by sensory tiles on the floor.

With an emphasis on the latest technology, the facility also has a 3D virtual reality suite which is equipped with headsets that will allow participants to under vocational training.

The participants will be able to see what a particular job entails and be able to undertake some of the tasks that vocation involves.

“Again this is all about building their capacity to actively participate in the real world,” Sarah said.

“It will be able to simulate dance, employment or a different environment all whilst having fun.”

Sunraysia Arts and Learning will conduct music therapy at the centre and a personal trainer will also visit to undertake exercise sessions.

SRS invites enquiries from other similar services to become part of this exciting new program space to join the fun. Volunteers are also welcome to assist with the program daily.

SRS, your local Aged and Disability leading provider, has for the past 43 years specialised in individualised programs and SRS UNLIMITED is another such program that can provide unique outcomes never before experienced. Referrals and enquires are welcome.

SRS UNLIMITED will officially open its doors on Wednesday, November 17 for additional information please contact the main office on 50221741 or email UNLIMITED@srsinc.com.au

By JOHN DOOLEY