A GROUP of local health workers are getting set to line up for the Belfast Marathon this weekend, all in aid of raising funds for the SWAH sensory suite.
The ten-strong team from the local Learning Disability Service is hoping to raise an ambitious £10,000 through the epic undertaking, which will go towards buying equipment for the sensory suite being created at the SWAH by the Western Trust to help patients with a learning disability cope with the noisy, overstimulating emergency department and hospital environment.
A spokeswoman for the group said the idea came out of a lunchtime conversation when one of the team said running the marathon was on her ‘bucket list’ back in January.
Since then the team members, which she said had varying levels of fitness had been in training, with some starting completely from scratch. This has included undertaking couch-to-5k courses and using phone apps.
“It has been a brilliant opportunity to strengthen relationships with colleagues as we come from different roles within learning disability services and have been meeting up after work and at the weekends to complete our training,” she said.
“We were passionate about raising money so that we could give back to our local community with the particular focus of benefiting the service users that we support in Learning Disability Services.”
The spokeswoman said they had chosen to support the sensory suite to support their acute liaison nurse, Emer Ferguson, who is establishing the new facility to support their service users when visiting the hospital and hopefully further expand on this to provide equipment on wards.
“Patients who may be too ill to visit the sensory room would therefore also benefit from the positive effects provided by such equipment. We would hope that children in hospital and patients with dementia will also benefit from our fundraising,” she said.
“Creating a sensory room or providing sensory equipment will offer patients a space in which to escape the busyness and over stimulation in hospitals that can lead to anxiety, allowing for a better experience for everyone.”
The spokeswoman said all donations would be greatly appreciated. They can be made via the team’s GoFundMe page, https://gofund.me/c843db35, by scanning its QR Code, or in person to any of the Learning Disability team.
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