Support group dedicates new 'safe haven' to member who sadly died aged 17

A group set up to support people with special needs is celebrating the opening of a new ‘safe haven’ sensory room – dedicated to a former group member who sadly passed away.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 11:58 am
Left to right is Ray Spencer (Waves patron) Suzanne Jackson (Waves chair) Leah Denny (member) Joan Ternent (Lee's mam) and Cody Ternent (Lee's brother)

Waves Additional Needs Support Group, based at Bilton Hall, Jarrow, raised £6,500 for the new sensory room – and had an official ribbon cutting ceremony with Waves patron, Ray Spencer MBE.

The group has dedicated the room to former member Lee Neo Ternent, who passed away in 2019 at just 17 years old.

A plaque honouring the teenager and photo of him have been placed on the door.

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Lee, from South Shields, was diagnosed with autism at the age of four and his family had several connections with Waves, with Lee and his parents attending the group for several years.

Treasurer of Waves Additional Needs Support Group, Rachel Moreton, said: “Lee was diagnosed with Autism at age four and faced many challenges throughout his short life.

"However, he faced these head on and at the time of his passing he was enrolled in college studying computer animation. Lee was a very talented artist and used this skill in combination with his interest in computer skills and even had his very own YouTube channel.”

Rachel explained how the new facility would benefit members and others.

“The sensory room is going to be a safe haven for many of the Waves members and members of the SEND community,” she said.

"Time in a sensory room helps improve visual, auditory and tactile processing as well as fine and gross motor skills. Many of the members of Waves have difficulty with managing and regulating their emotions and the sensory room will provide a sense of calm and comfort and support the members to self-regulate their behaviors which will ultimately improve focus.”

Waves Support Group is run by 15 parents who all have children with additional needs and the group meets every Saturday at Bilton Hall, Jarrow.

The group is open to all ages and provides a safe space where people with disabilities can meet, socialise and take part in a number of activities including cookery, arts and crafts, hair and beauty and day trips.

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