HANDY HELPERS: Heather Bright and Amanda Trapman (front) and friends Sara Evans and Vicki Harding with some of the bright and busy sensory mats for Wyong Hospital patients with dementia.
HANDY HELPERS: Heather Bright and Amanda Trapman (front) and friends Sara Evans and Vicki Harding with some of the bright and busy sensory mats for Wyong Hospital patients with dementia.

Callout for sensory mats unites crafters Callout for sensory mats unites crafters

A CALLOUT for sensory or fidget mats for Wyong Hospital patients with dementia is bringing a community of Central Coast crafters together.

These mats provide simple soothing and stimulating activities and hand exercise for people living with dementia, and can also be used by those recovering from strokes or head injury.

They comprise a variety of decorations that can be done and undone, such as zips, buttons, velcro, shoe laces and ribbons, as well as objects to squeeze and wool to braid.

Different textures and sounds, from soft toys to materials such as leather, satin and fur, pom poms, bells, beads and crocheted flowers can be added, and pockets are ideal to pop things in and out of.

Amanda Trapman said she was the first person her mother Heather Bright recruited for the mighty effort of creating 1000 mats, but two into 1000 was just too much.

"It was a bit daunting in the beginning thinking how we can make 1000 mats by October," Amanda admitted.

She and friend Sara Evans put the word out on Facebook that donations and help were needed and they were "inundated with messages" of people wanting to become involved.

They established a dedicated public Facebook page, Central Coast Sensory Mats, to handle all the interest.

With Amanda and Heather's houses now over-run with donations, including Snaps Australia donating hundreds of plastic press studs, they still need more creative hands on deck.

Tasks include cutting and making up the blank mats from donated doona covers etc, attaching pieces to them or making complete mats.

Amanda has collated sets of 5 kits of donated items which she can supply to people interested in lending a hand.

Alternatively, you are welcome to get creative on your own, the only rule is that the mats must be safe, with items well secured and nothing such as belt buckles that people could be hurt with.

"Mum is retired … she has sewn, knitted and crocheted all my life, and I've learnt from her," Amanda said.

"I think we are up to about 150 mats completed now, and we've handed over 100 already."

Amanda said there were now about 10 people making the mats, with friend Vicki Harding having just completed another 24.

She said it was good to be involved in the project with her mum, and to know that what they were doing would help others.


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