SEA LIFE Sensory Room

The SEA LIFE-themed Sensory Room at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton, opened on Tuesday 19 January 2016, benefiting hundreds of young patients who rely on the hospital’s services.

We teamed up with the SEA LIFE Brighton and children’s charity Merlin’s Magic Wand to make the Sensory Room a reality, which is located within the play area on level 10 of the Alex, and is the first official SEA LIFE themed sensory space of its kind in the UK.

The unique Sensory Room is fitted with specialist equipment such as a bubble screen, interactive lighting and an effects projector, which all help to create an under-the-sea multi-sensory experience for young patients, to use as both a learning and therapeutic area.

Young patient Maxwell Smith joined us on launch day, along with his parents Peter and Emma. Maxwell, now aged six, from Storrington in West Sussex, was diagnosed with Mitochondrial disease at nine months old, meaning he needs continuous medical support. This rare disease is a group of disorders caused by dysfunctional mitochondria that take on unique characteristics in each individual. Having access to the Sensory Room is hugely beneficial to patients such as Maxwell, providing a calm, comforting and therapeutic space. Find out more about Maxwell’s story by visiting www.littlemaxwell.org.

Katy Weaver, a Play Team Specialist at the Alex, said: “We are so delighted with our amazing sensory room. It is great to have an interactive, multi-sensory sea-themed room which has cleverly allowed more floor space to make this room much more accessible to our patients. The space can be enjoyed by patients and their families and it will enable them to relax in a completely non-clinical environment – the perfect way to escape temporarily even if they are not well enough to leave the hospital. A huge thank you to everyone that made this possible, it will make a massive difference to many patients and their families.”

It is thanks to funding from Rockinghorse, SEA LIFE Brighton and Merlin’s Magic Wand that the Sensory Room project has been possible. Max Leviston, General Manager of SEA LIFE Brighton, said: “The whole SEA LIFE Brighton team is absolutely delighted with the sensory. Our staff have been involved throughout the process – from fundraising to putting forward ideas to the designer – so it is great to see all their hard work come to fruition. By working with Merlin’s Magic Wand, Rockinghorse Children’s Charity and, of course, our visitors, we have created a room which I hope will provide much needed respite for the hospital’s patients for many years to come.”

Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse, added: “The sensory room at the Alex is the first of its kind anywhere in the UK, and this is something we are incredibly proud of. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Merlin’s Magic Wand, SEA LIFE Brighton, and our supporters have played such a huge part in making this happen too. The greatest beneficiaries are of course the children who are using the space – very often the children with the most complex needs within the hospital.”

As the official fundraising arm of the Alex, we raise money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment, whilst also ensuring that children are treated in an environment better suited to their needs. Merlin’s Magic Wand is a worldwide charity for children, arranging magical days out at Merlin Entertainments attractions, such as LEGOLAND Resorts, SEA LIFE Centres and Madame Tussauds.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped to make the new Sensory Room a reality. To view all the pictures from the project launch, please click here to visit the photo album on our Facebook page.

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