Dave’s Den - new sensory room is a tribute - FitzRoy
Group of people using a sensory room, which has brightly patterned material covering the walls

Dave’s Den – new sensory room is a tribute

Published: February 9, 2024

Wooden sign saying 'Daven's Den' on a grey doorWhen our Norfolk day service, The Maltings, opened in 2000, one of the first members through the door was Chris, known as Dave to his friends. Dave attended The Maltings regularly until he sadly passed away very unexpectedly last year. After a new sensory room was created for members, everyone agreed it should be named in his honour, and so Dave’s Den was born.

Sensory spaces are invaluable for people with learning disabilities and autism – they can help someone who is feeling overwhelmed to feel calmer again. There are lots of ways we do this, from lights to tactile surfaces, or particular sounds. We tailored the room to the needs and wishes of the people using it – we all have our preferences about our surroundings after all!

Brightly coloured sensory lights sat on a shelf

Deputy manager Toby explains: “A lot of our work is focused on relaxation, so we encourage all of our members to relax in a way that works for them. We already have a large sensory room here, but it can get pretty busy at times. We also wanted a space for people who need to go somewhere they feel safe when they recognise a seizure is coming.

“We chose a room that was being used as a storeroom and emptied it out to give us a blank canvas to work with. It’s been quite a project to get it transformed, but our members have enthusiastically got involved with choosing colours, materials, and lighting options that work for them.

“Towards the end of the project we realised that we needed a name for this new space. It seemed only fitting for it to be named in Dave’s honour. Dave embraced relaxation in many forms, taking part in yoga, reflexology, and mindfulness groups here, as well as being a big fan of a nap!

“Just as we thought we’d finished, we realised the entrance to the room could add to the experience. After some research we created a sensory tree, with the trunk made from recycled packaging, which really frames the space. Nestled gently within it is Dave’s last piece of artwork, which he created the same day that we lost him.”

Dave’s passing was such a huge tragedy for the service, but we all felt it was important to channel the host of emotions into producing something positive. We’ve done our very best to honour and remember someone very special to us all who has left a huge hole, and who we dearly miss.

Find out more about The Maltings.