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A new space for those with sensory processing needs is opening in a Bradford shopping centre.

The room in The Broadway is opening in collaboration with the centre, Bradford Council and Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, and will be a calm space for neurodivergent visitors to retreat to if they feel overwhelmed.

General manager, Ian Ward, said: “To ensure our centre is inclusive for all, we started to look at ways we could support our customers who have additional needs. With City of Culture and the increase in visitors to the city, we thought that a sensory room would go a long way to cater for shoppers who may enjoy some quiet time.

“We’ve renovated some unused space to make way for the city’s largest sensory room and we hope that it will help anyone who may feel overwhelmed when they’re in our busy centre.”

The room will be located close to The Hub and include mood lighting, mirrors, a musical hand and touch wall, an LED colour curtain and an acoustic bed.

Councillor Sue Duffy, Portfolio Holder for Children’s and Young People’s Neurodiversity said: “We have recently started a journey working closely with our partners with the aim of making Bradford a neurodiverse friendly district, so that when we refer to our city being inclusive it means neurological differences are recognised and respected by everyone. Today is a key milestone for all of us as we launch the sensory room in the Broadway, which has been designed specifically to support people of all ages with physical and cognitive skills and also provide a safe space for those who may become overwhelmed by all the sensory output in our modern cities.”

Therese Patten, Place Lead for Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership and Chief Executive for Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust: “Our Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership is driven by our Act as One ethos to help us achieve our vision of people living happy, healthy at home. To do this we need to create active, involved and inclusive communities where we recognise and celebrate our differences. This includes helping people who are neurodivergent achieve their full potential and make valuable contributions that benefit us all. The opening of this sensory room is an example of us working as one in our efforts to create a neurodiverse friendly place. With this being the largest sensory room of its kind in Bradford, we can demonstrate that we’re all determined in our efforts to make everyone welcome.”

Sensory rooms allow users to calm down and relieve any stress as well as improve focus by allowing exploration in a safe engaging environment.

Chris Morton, MD at SpaceKraft, the company that is fitting out the sensory room said: “With over 30 years’ experience in the special needs market, we were very excited to be asked to collaborate on this project and bring a valuable resource to Bradford and the surrounding area.

“Utilising the latest sensory equipment that SpaceKraft manufactures – Musical Touch Wall, Colour Column, Moodlight – we’ve created a tranquil space, harnessing a beautiful balance of audio, visual and sensory stimulants brough together to optimise relaxation. A great addition to your to do list when visiting The Broadway in Bradford.”

It will be open in line with the centres opening times and managed by The Hub. No booking is needed.

To find out more about the centre, visit www.broadwaybradford.com