Crowdfunding Appeal for a Sensory and Soft Play Centre for Tenterden

09/03/2024
Tenterden News
Beth Whatman, owner of the Rockits Sensory Room, outside the Embassy Building in Tenterden High Street
 
Beth Whatman says "we need your help in moving to a bigger premises on Tenterden High Street, so that we can include a soft play area and bigger sensory rooms". Donate to the Crowdfunding appeal >>> here https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/sensory-and-soft-play-for-tenterden
 
 One of the rooms at the Rockits Sensory Room
 
"My name is Beth Whatman. I am a mum to two boys and a music teacher. When my beautiful eldest son, Rufus, was born with autism, I quickly became aware that there was nowhere locally for families such as mine, who need support and a welcoming and nurturing space to bring our children to. With the support of my family, I decided to rent a tiny premises in Tenterden High Street, which we turned into a magical sensory room. I held my baby & toddler music classes here too and we combined this with SEN sessions, support groups, activities for both neurodivergent and neurotypical children and even school holiday craft and baking sessions. Within six months, it became clear that we needed a bigger premises as all of our sessions were full and our waiting lists were growing longer and longer
 
Fast foward to April 2023 and we moved to our current rooms, which are bigger and allow us to offer more sessions and services. We were really touched by the support shown by TTC, ABC and received donations from many organisations, friends and our Rockits family.

However, once again we have quickly outgrown our new home! We have families coming in from 30+ miles away as they need a visit to Rockits Sensory. We are bursting at the seams, but thought we would be unable to afford a larger premises. We are just a little, family run, independent business. We are not a franchise and we are registered as a CIC (a Community Interest Company). We keep our session prices as low as possible (with free support groups), to ensure that they are affordable to all families and we also offer private hire very cheaply for those needing to step inside our little hub and find a quiet and peaceful retreat for their time with us. Of course, we need to budget for these sessions, so we have now started parties and events at the weekends to enable us to continue the SEN sessions."

Now for the BIG NEWS …
 
"Our current landlords have been incredibly supportive and made so much possible for us that we would never have dreamed possible. They have now offered us a very large new home for Rockits Sensory (the entire top floor of M&Co in Tenterden) which would include a soft play area, two sensory rooms, an interactive den, role play areas, a play cafe and garden, events rooms and much more! This beautiful building stands in the heart of our high street and is absolutely ideal for us to move to. There are lifts already installed and the location is perfect, close to the schools, with a car park behind and a park to the side! I have to pinch myself to believe this is actually true! Currently I travel to other areas to take my boys to soft play centres; I know lots of you do too! Children could have a little bounce here (it could save many sofas, haha), then some fun in the Play Cafe area, while the grown ups enjoy a little break and a (real) cup of tea! Perfect! There will be two separate sensory rooms, beautifully equipped and decorated lovingly in our unique Rockits way! This will ensure we can continue caring for those with complex needs; something that will always be our priority. Seriously, to have these facilities here in Tenterden for all of our families would be absolutely incredible. We also have many physically disabled children visiting us and we plan to make everywhere wheelchair friendly and accessible. Our ethos at Rockits Sensory, is that everyone is equal and treated with kindness, respect and love.
 
I am now both equally excited and nervous! This new centre would literally be a blank canvas, just waiting for Rockits Sensory to burst through the doors and get to work on building something that will last us and our community forever! This will come at a huge cost and that is where we need your help to actually make this happen. Our biggest outlay will be for the new soft play area, but we believe this is something so many local families will enjoy and benefit from. It will also bring in some extra income to allow us to continue to improve our facilities and staffing for our neurodivergent visitors. We will also need to upgrade lots of our equipment, invest in new items, equip the area with safety flooring, add general play areas and a dedicated events room, padded walls for our interactive den and a proper ‘play’ cafe. We would also be employing more staff from within our community.
 
We are running a Crowdfunding campaign to raise vital funds, without which we cannot make these plans a reality. You can pledge any amount you wish and be sure that every penny will be used to benefit our little ones, our community and especially those needing a warm, friendly welcome every time they walk through our doors. In the words of Woody (from Toy Story), "you’ve got a friend in me.”
 
There are many different rewards for certain pledged amounts such as a name on our ‘thank you wall’, discounted birthday parties, free use of our play centre and lots more! 
 
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please support us if you can, every little helps! We simply cannot do this without you. Please tell friends and family and spread our news far and wide. With your incredible support we have come so far in just two years, which just goes to show what a wonderful community we have here in Tenterden. This would be a dream come true for so many, including myself. This is for our community, for our children, for those with their beautiful differences…
 
 
With love and thanks:
Beth Whatman
Rockits Sensory Room
Rear of 53 High Street Tenterden, Kent
TN30 6BD 
 
 The Rockits Sensory Room
 
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