Kilmacud Crokes to host inclusive, sensory-friendly Santa’s grotto

by Gary Ibbotson

Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club will once again host a sensory-friendly Santa’s grotto on Saturday, December 14.

Open to club members and the public, the event came about after Kilmacud Crokes’ Healthy Club Programme realised that some families in the community felt excluded at Christmas time and could not enjoy a Santa Claus experience.

The sensory Santa’s grotto will be similar to a sensory garden where children with special needs or autism get the opportunity to stimulate senses, individually or collectively.

Clare Boyle, a member of the organising committee for the event says the idea came about in “August or September and from then on we reached out to members to assist us, alongside some teachers from local schools to provide us with background/training to ensure it worked.”

Boyle says that the grotto will be set up in the Kilmacud Crokes function room and will consist of mood lighting, low music and a quiet room where bean bags will be placed for children to enjoy if they wish.

“We will have colouring books and mood boards for the kids also to have downtime.

“Santa himself has been informed of this special event and he has promised also to be on his best behaviour alongside his trusty elves!” she says.

Crokes’ Healthy Club Programme first hosted the event last year and Boyle says they will continue to do so as long as the demand is there.

“We want to be at forefront of providing this magical service to families ensuring everyone is included.

“That’s the theme, ‘Inclusivity’. Some families last year had never attended a Santa event before so to hear that made us all very proud.

“As a club we are very proud to be in a position to be able to serve our community,” says Boyle.

“This is very important to us all at Kilmacud Crokes. Last year all the participants and volunteers at the event got so much out of it and families were thrilled that it went smoothly for them.”

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