As part of this year’s Disabled Access Day, Bath Abbey teamed up with youngsters from Three Ways School, a community special needs school in Odd Down, to host a series of fun activities for visitors using all five senses.
Local families and visitors who dropped by the Abbey on ‘Sensory Saturday’ on 11 March were warmly greeted by their ‘hosts’ for the day, a group of 13 Year 9 students from Three Ways School, and were invited to take part in various sensory activities. These included making woolly sheep from cotton wool, identifying mystery ‘church smells’ in colourful boxes and dressing up in robes. There were also opportunities to find out more about the significance of the church font and baptism as well as The Last Supper through interactive sessions run by the Three Ways school students who were supported by Abbey staff and volunteers.
Ollie Taylor, Bath Abbey’s Interpretation Officer, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to have worked with Three Ways School to mark this year’s Disabled Access Day in such an exciting and fun way. The students spent many hours preparing for the day and were simply brilliant to work with. They were very creative in coming up with fun ideas for sensory activities.
“What’s especially great is that they were able to deliver the activities themselves and saw first-hand how well received their ideas were on the day. This is just one example of the type of work we’re doing as part of the Footprint project, which is about improving the Abbey’s access, hospitality and engagement with worshippers, visitors and locals through a new interpretation and events programme. We’re hoping to work again with Three Ways in the future and is a great example of how Footprint isn’t just about building work! It’s also about strengthening our links with different local community groups and creating engaging and fun events for people who live in Bath. Events such as Sensory Saturday do just this.”
Pippa Harding, class teacher at Three Ways, added, “We’re delighted to have been asked to host sensory sessions for visitors to Bath Abbey. Our students love visiting the Abbey and have discovered so much about its history as well as what the church does today. They see it as a beautiful and inspiring place and are all really excited about sharing what they’ve learnt with other people through all five senses.
“This is just another example of how we’ve been able to work with local organisations to provide real work experience and training for students preparing to leave Three Ways. We’re grateful to the Abbey for providing this great opportunity for our students which will give them the kind of skills and confidence that every young person needs at the start of their working life – and that students with special needs deserve.”