CatholicCare’s creating a calming space

CatholicCare’s Maitland office has undergone renovations. Upgrades to our Family Contact Room and Meeting Room are now complete and there is also a teenage retreat space.

The Family Contact Room is a very important space for our children, young people and their families. It is important to us that the Contact Room is a space which feels safe and welcoming for all of its visitors.  With our children and families in mind, we created a sensory room which will also be shared with other teams across CatholicCare such as our Early Intervention Team, Adolescent and Family Counsellors, Supported Independent Living team and our Clinical Services Psychologists when providing therapeutic services.

A sensory room is a special room designed to develop a person’s senses, this can be done using special lighting, music and objects. Sensory rooms can be used to help create a safe space, provide opportunities for engagement as well as a host of other therapeutic exchanges, as well as promoting self-care, self-nurturing and resilience.

With this in mind, CatholicCare commissioned local Aboriginal artist, Kristy Anderson, to develop a mural. Kristy painted an ‘under the sea’ themed feature wall, carefully selecting colours that were calming and would promote an inviting and safe atmosphere.

In describing the mural, Kristy said, “This room has the story of families from all different backgrounds and areas coming together and meeting to tell stories, eat and to pass on knowledge to others; then they all will travel on this journey together. Each of the sea animals represents all the different people and their families. At the top of the mural are the tracks of their journey, with a resting place at the water hole.”

CatholicCare has purchased a range of therapeutic resources to be shared across programs when engaging with the children, young people and families in these rooms including weighted blankets, lycra tunnels, a calm reading corner with sensory lighting, books, games and activities.

CatholicCare has created an additional retreat space, also designed as a sensory room that can be used to support our children, young people and families as is intended with our family contact space.  This space will also be shared across CatholicCare programs.

The room shares an ‘under the sea’ theme, with artist Kristy stating, “The art in this room represents connections with family of all kinds. Each turtle has a history of its own and is connected through its bloodlines, and also connected through love and spirit. The main turtle up the top is the parent to the turtles down below and it is also the holder of knowledge, love and guidance. The lines between the turtles are their connection and the dots are the love and guidance joining them together.”

To date the rooms have been well received by children and carers and we have observed the room’s calming and inviting effect.

Our Meeting Room has also undergone some changes and has been designed with the aim of creating an environment where people feel comfortable to sit and talk during meetings, training and various interactions.  We are excited to share these changes and hope you visit us in order to see them! 

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Kate Thornthwaite Image
Kate Thornthwaite

Kate Thornthwaite is the Casework Manager at CatholicCare Maitland office.

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