Mai-Wel’s new sensational sensory spaces project welcomes first participants

Mai-Wel’s new purpose built Sensational Sensory Spaces at The Hill have been officially opened and are already having a profoundly positive impact on people living with disability who have so far experienced the benefits of these new sensory experiences.

“Research suggests that multi-sensory stimulation can provide opportunities for people with a disability to develop or reactivate their senses,” said Mai-Wel CEO Lynne Graham.

“We know that, for people with disability, the relaxing and rejuvenating effects of multi-sensory stimulation have long term benefits, including a reduction in behaviours of concern, allowing the person to communicate thoughts and feeling in alternate ways, improving social, emotional and physical wellbeing and enabling greater access, participation and choice for people with disability.”

Funded by a $60,000 grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, the two purpose designed sensory rooms have been developed to provide sensory stimulation controlled by the user to suit their individual needs. Incorporating the use of projectors, light wheels, fibre optics, lamps, sounds and noises, smells, textures, and tactile sensory objects, the dedicated spaces provide sensory stimulation and relaxation, whilst reducing the barriers that disrupt quality of life and build on the skills necessary for social wellbeing.

Touring the new facility at The Hill, the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation team witnessed the positive experience the new Sensational Sensory Spaces offer people with a disability who have moderate to high support needs.

“When we received this grant application, Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation could easily see how the sensory spaces would make a positive impact in the lives of Mai-Wel’s clients and we are delighted to have been able to support Mai-Wel in making their vision for this experience a reality,” Charitable Foundation Board Chair Jennifer Leslie said.

“The sensory rooms and gardens are filled with such engaging sights, smells, tastes and textures. It’s inspiring to see that through this grant, the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation has been able to help break down some of the barriers experienced by people with a disability.”

The new sensory rooms are located at The Hill, Mai-Wel’s purpose-built centre for lifestyle & leisure day services and activities for people with a disability who have moderate to high support needs.

The Hill’s Manager, Margo Kennedy, said Mai-Wel is focused on providing vibrant and innovative services with top quality resources and facilities that provide the best opportunities for people with a disability.

“It has been so exciting for Mai-Wel staff and our participants to see this project grow, from an idea to something participants can now experience. We have been involved every step of the way, from working with sensory artist and designer Bliss Cavanagh, to planning the layout, installing the sensory pieces and decorations, planting the garden and now seeing the huge impact the resulting two sensory rooms and garden have already had on our participants at The Hill,” Margo said.

“We know this will make a big difference in the long term to the quality of their lives. Without the support of Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, this experience and future impact just wouldn’t be possible,” added Mai-Wel CEO Lynne Graham.

The Charitable Foundation has a long history of supporting regional communities, with its grant program having invested, since 2003, more than $22-million in 270 organisations who are making a real impact to the lives of people in need.

For more information about The Hill’s sensory spaces, visit The Hill page of this site or contact us on 4057 2900 or


Pictured: Manager of The Hil, Margo Kennedy, presented the new sensory spaces at the official launch.