HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO visited Worcester Snoezelen on on Wednesday 6 February 2019.
He unveiled a plaque to commemorate the 25th Anniversary Year of the Charity.
The Duke was accompanied by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire – The Hon Lady Morrison and the High Sheriff of Worcestershire – Cassian Roberts. Also in attendance were the Mayor of Worcester – Jabba Riaz, the Chairman of Worcestershire County Council – Councillor Brandon Clayton, and the Leader of Worcestershire County Council – Simon Geraghty, along with many other guests including supporters of the charity, staff and Members.
Worcester Snoezelen is a leisure therapy centre for people with learning disabilities and additional needs, located in Turnpike Close, on the University of Worcester St John’s campus. It has four sensory ‘Snoezelen’ rooms, a hydro-therapy pool, sensory garden, and specialist music and creative arts departments.
The Duke of Gloucester, who is The Queen’s cousin, said in his speech as he unveiled a commemorative plaque at the centre:
“It is a pleasure to visit. 25 years ago it was felt necessary to start Worcester Snoezelen and 25 years later it has proved the necessity. I understand that people come from a long way off and that as a result it is overcrowded and you need more space and need more resources. This is something which has been developing over many years and there must be ideas from all over the world that entrance those that come here. From this visit I can understand the results and I congratulate you as I unveil the plaque.”
The High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, Cassian Roberts said
“Thank you so much for allowing me to see another jewel in Worcester’s crown of first class provision of care and love for people who need it. I am greatly impressed by the devotion of both your staff and the families of the people who use Snoezelen and the obvious affection and humour of the service users. The work which has gone into maintaining and improving the facilities is exceptional. I think all your efforts are well made.”
The Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Jabba Riaz said
“It was a privilege to be invited to Snoezelen to celebrate their achievements in the City over the past 25 years. Snoezelen, their ethos and kindness, has become part of the fabric of the city. The countless hours of dedication, volunteering and effort put on behalf of the organisation and staff has brought so much joy to hundreds if not thousands of children and adults who simply would not have been able access an environment where they could grow, learn and gain new skills. The Visit from HRH the Duke of Gloucester, made such a wonderful difference and an added boost to their exciting plans for the future. I wish them every success !”
Matthew Blackburn, who regularly visits with his family, and this summer organised a team to run in the Worcester City half-marathon and 10K in support of the charity, said
“It was a privilege for us as a family to be presented to His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester. Snoezelen is an amazing place that accepts all and is somewhere our family could not survive without. It is best described as peace and tranquillity in an otherwise chaotic world of Autism that we live in. Emily loves attending Snoezelen every fortnight with her non-verbal Autistic brother Sam and she was really proud to attend the Royal visit today to represent her brother, who unfortunately was unable to attend due to his challenging needs. We will continue to raise funds for Snoezelen for many years. It is an irreplaceable setting and we look forward to attending for the next 25 years of its life.”
Penny Brazier who founded the charity 25 years ago said
“We are deeply honoured by this visit by The Duke of Gloucester and everyone else who attended to mark this special year when we continue to see the project providing fun and happiness to so many people today.”
Jane Roberts, the current Chief Executive Officer, who has worked with the charity for over 20 years, said
“It was a very great honour indeed to welcome the Duke of Gloucester and many other people to Worcester Snoezelen to commemorate our 25th anniversary year. Over the years Worcester Snoezelen has developed considerably from humble beginnings in a groundsman’s shed to the busy vibrant place that it is today. We are well known in the community, and currently welcome 350 people per week who travel from all over Worcestershire and beyond to use our facilities and engage with our staff. We believe we are unique in offering in one place so much for people with disabilities and additional needs.”