Sense Family Centre, Newtownabbey, County Antrim (Mallusk Family Centre - Manor House)

Our Centre

"They have great facilities that the kids can explore"

Services for deafblind children and young people in Northern Ireland are based at Sense Family Centre, Newtownabbey, County Antrim (Mallusk Family Centre - Manor House).

Sense Family Centre, Newtownabbey hosts a specialist nursery that has been running since 1998 and is open four mornings a week.

The nursery offers the full range of activities found in any day nursery, plus a range of sensory equipment including bubble tubes, magic carpets and interactive lights which help to capture the attention and challenge young minds. 

Active play takes place in our nursery rooms and soft play area. We have times for quiet games, musical activities and messy play.

"They have great facilities that the kids can explore – even down to a pencil box that plays music when you touch it. The environment really helped Dara develop confidence and gave her the ability to express herself."
Tracey, Dara’s mum.

The nursery has a high staff ratio, boosted by dedicated volunteers and student placements, which allows for regular one-to-one interaction with the children. 

The centre also has strong links with a range of other professionals and has regular input from speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

Specialist activities and fun

Each child has a programme of activities based on a full assessment of their needs, covering all the areas of development. This can include cognitive development, communication, sensory impairment, daily living skills, social interaction and motor development.

"We want to provide the highest possible standard of care, so the parents can feel confident in leaving their children with us. We also want to provide an education-based programme for each child, designed to maximise their own potential."
Lorna Milway, Children’s Services Manager

Nursery sessions run Tuesdays to Fridays, from 9.30am until noon. Children usually attend one or two sessions each week. The nursery closes for seven weeks in the summer and for breaks at Christmas and Easter.

How to refer children to the nursery

If you think that a child would benefit from coming to Manor House Nursery please contact their social worker who will raise the matter at a multi-disciplinary case planning meeting. This will ensure that everyone who works with the child has the opportunity to discuss whether this would be the best placement for them.

Who we are

Yvonne Evans is the Nursery Team Leader and the regular staff team includes: Lavinia Houston, Angela Ferrin and Sandra McFaul.  They are also supported by relief staff Sarah Forde and Clara Wilson

Other services at the Manor House

Out of Schools Club

In addition to the specialist nursery, the Manor House is also the base for an Out of Schools programme that provides children aged from 3 to 12 years with the opportunity to enjoy a range of leisure opportunities in a safe and stimulating environment supported by skilled staff. The club operates term time every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

Referrals for this service should be made directly to Sense – contact details below.

Summer scheme

During the summer break we organise a summer scheme, and children generally attend the scheme for one week during the summer period. Activities include arts and crafts, games and music. 

This scheme provides children with the opportunity to relax and have fun and also provides valuable respite for families during the long summer break.

Referrals for the summer scheme should be made to directly to your social worker who can discuss funding for your child’s place on the scheme.

How to find us

Sense Family Centre
51 Mallusk Road
County Antrim
Northern Ireland
BT36 4RU

Tel: 028 9083 3430
Textphone: 028 9083 3430
Fax: 028 9084 4232

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First published: Tuesday 29 May 2012
Updated: Tuesday 7 November 2017