Espiral de Vontades unveils “sensory room” in Monchique – the only one open to the general public in Algarve

Monchique-based association has unveiled a new “sensory room” at its charity shop in the centre of Monchique. The room officially opened in July and is now being promoted publically as the “only one that is open to the general public in the Algarve.”

The association – which is still trying to achieve its goal of setting a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest crochet blanket – says that the room was created after a successful bid for funding via the BPI Fundação ”la Caixa” Rural awards.

“A multisensory stimulation space was created which is aimed at the public in general as well as those most vulnerable in the rural world,” said the association.
It added that its goal is to improve the association’s capacity to help those in need and complement the services it already offers.

In the future, Espiral de Vontades is planning to create a mobile sensorial room in order to take the experience directly to the doorstep of those who need it.
But what exactly is a sensory room? In this case, the room is defined as a Snoezelen room.

Snoezelen is a therapy used for people with autism, dementia, brain injury and other development disabilities. It can also be used to treat depressions and generally promote one’s well-being. Snoezelen rooms use lighting, colour, sounds, music, scents to deliver stimuli to the senses.

However, these rooms can also be used by anyone looking to enjoy a relaxing and soothing experience.

Luísa Martins, president of Espiral de Vontades, says that feedback so far has been “very positive.

“We’re already seeing some progress among the people using the room,” Martins told the Resident this week, adding that the main focus at the moment is to spread the news about the opening of the room.

“Many people do not know about it or about this therapy,” she pointed out.

Anyone interested in using the room can contact the association. The charity shop (Loja Social) the room is located in is open Monday through Friday, with the plan being to start opening on Saturday very soon.

Prices vary vastly depending on several factors, from whether someone is using the room to treat an issue or to simply have a soothing experience to whether they are local residents.

Martins also highlighted the role that Casulo, a “social innovation incubator,” played in the association’s bid for funding.

Espiral de Vontades was created in 2011 to help people with disabilities obtain much-needed wheelchairs through donations and the collection of bottle caps.

Many big steps were taken in 2017, when the association’s first charity shop opened in Monchique. In the same year, the association also launched a project called ‘Idosos em Movimento’ which provides therapeutic treatment (namely physiotherapy and psychomotricity) to the elderly population of Monchique.

But perhaps its best-known project is to create the “world’s largest crochet blanket” and then exhibit it for a day at the top of Fóia.

The process involves knitting ‘rosetas’, crochet squares with a flower design in the centre. If all goes according to plan, the blanket will be 18,000sqm large once it is all sown together.

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