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Sophie and Lottie Scully with Santa and elf Mia Hanrahan.

Santa pays early visit to Clare Crusaders sensory-friendly grotto

Champion Chatter

CLARE Crusaders Children’s Clinic had a very special visitor recently when Santa Claus himself paid an early visit.

The big man in red arrived in Barefield earlier this month for the clinic’s first ever sensory-friendly Santa Grotto with Fiona Norton of Clare Crusaders describing the event as a fantastic success with plans already in place for its return next year.

The families who visited got a chance to meet Santa who gave every child their very own present, and a volunteer photographer was on hand to capture the moment. For some, this was their first time getting a family picture with Santa.

Before meeting Santa, the children and young people had an opportunity to make reindeer food and decorate Christmas cookies to put out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

They also wrote their Santa letters and coloured pictures which were posted to the North Pole. The coffee corner was also well stocked with delicious treats and nibbles, homemade hot chocolate, and buns a-plenty.

Santa’s grotto was hosted in the clinic’s newly finished sensory room, which was completed earlier this year as a result of fundraising and donations. The room includes a ball pool, light features and padded, colourful walls.

“This fun-filled family day, although a wonderful opportunity to raise funds for the clinic, was at its heart, a day to allow families using the clinic’s services to have a positive, individualised and calming experience with Santa.

“The clinic staff worked hard to make this day a wholesome and special day for families with children with additional needs, and the feedback so far has been tremendously positive. As a result of this year’s demand for bookings, we hope to host another successful grotto again next year.

“Thank you to all the families that supported the clinic for Santa’s grotto, and a big thank you to Pat McDonagh from Supermacs who donated gifts to Santa’s workshop for all the children who came on the day.”

The Clare Crusaders Children’s Clinic is a non-profit organisation in Barefield and was established in 2007. They now provide therapy to over 450+ children with additional needs across the county.

They work with a variety of children with a range of different needs, including ASD, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and learning difficulties.

The clinic operates entirely through self-generated funds raised by fundraising events and donations and is managed on a voluntary basis.  The funds are used to provide services free of charge to parents which includes Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.

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