Back in early May, we shared an idea with some Manchester City Council partners about producing sensory kits for SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities) families across the city. We thought of the project because we’ve heard that many families are having issues managing their children’s sensory integration needs during the lockdown. A lot of families were also wanting for things to do with their children at home.

Luckily, the council was receptive to the idea. They linked us up with 4CT Limited and – in true co-production fashion – we planned, developed and brought the project to life together, from start to finish. The result was a pilot scheme that benefited a few dozen families, which was well-received by the children as well as their parents and siblings.

The success of the pilot inspired all partners to bring the project to more SEND families in Manchester. From the feedback we received, we sought ways to improve the contents of the packs. The local authority also promised to match any funding that we will be able to secure in order to deliver 300 more sensory and activity kits to children.

Luckily, we received a grant through Forever Manchester‘s Community Support Fund. The fund supports grassroots organisations that benefit local communities in Manchester.

Read more about the Community Support Fund at

Feedback from families have all been very positive:

Thanks so much for my girl’s sensory bag, delivered by a lovely polite young man yesterday afternoon, Gxx had a lovely calm morning chewing on 3 goodies out of the bag, which helped massively with my stress levels whilst I cleaned up and managed to do a load of washing as Gxx was sat in her chair occupied brilliant idea for our kiddies during this time, thank you again!

Happy Mum

Thank you for the sensory bag! Made his day

Happy Mum

Want to thank the people that organized the sensory packs literally things like this make such a big difference in lockdown Jxx is so happy with his stuff

Happy Mum
Ruby is very excited and thankful for her sensory activity pack, which we’ve just received

We love every single toy in the bag, they have been great and very useful, we have played for ages. It is as though they have a magical knowledge of …. needs. I am really pleased.

Happy Mum

“Thank you for Rxx’s sensory activity pack, it was a lovely surprise, we are making moon sand this afternoon, will send pics ”

“Thank you, Rxx loved making the moon sand (& also loves staying in her dressing gown) we appreciate everyone who helped put the pack together ”

“Aw that’s great it really was a lovely surprise and it cheered Rxx up as at times she has been abit bored”

Happy Mum

There was a very good assortment of toys in the bag, not all ideal for our son but I loved the effort you had made to find a good range of items both sensory and activity based.

Axx tangled the slinky immediately as he loves those (and I find untangling them quite calming), the ribbon came out next, the bubbles were great for the garden. He is still playing with the slinky even now, but as you can see he also loved the huge paper bag – unfortunately I didn’t get footage of him wandering around with it on his head (!)

It was a very pleasant and welcome surprise to receive the pack, and we’d like to thank you, 4CT and the Parent Champions for thinking of us.

Happy Mum

We got our bags today and the boys love them. Thank you. X

Happy Mum

I mixed the ingredients for the moon sand, like the texture

Happy Mum

We would again like to thank all partners for their involvement in this project:

  • Forever Manchester
  • Manchester City Council’s Local Offer team
  • Manchester City Council’s Short Breaks team
  • 4CT Limited
  • Information, Advice and Support Manchester (IASM)
  • Manchester City Council’s social care team
  • Parent Champions
  • All individual and group volunteers who helped during packing and delivery of the packs