Pendragon Multi Sensory Centre, Northallerton, UK

Pendragon Multi Sensory Centre, Northallerton, UK

July 2016, The Pendragon Multi Sensory Centre in Northallerton, a specialist centre charged with making real differences to the lives of those with physical, mental and emotional difficulties, opened its doors for the first time on 4th July 2016.


The new multi-sensory centre is owned and operated by the Pendragon Community Trust, formed by a group of parents and carers together with other compassionate and committed professionals. Their aim is to fill the gap in day service provision for people with learning and profound disabilities, by providing a stimulating range of therapeutic and developmental activities.


Fundraising for the Pendragon Centre began more than twelve years ago and on opening day Chairman of the Pendragon Community Trust, David Kerfoot said: “It’s been an emotional day, it has been hard to keep back the tears at times. So many people have helped to bring the Pendragon Centre to where it is, It’s all paid for, now all we have to do is raise the money to keep it going. The need is so great - the Centre fulfils a really important role”.


The Centre is dominated by a double height sensory area that combines stunning sound and light effects with specialist equipment such as bubble tubes, a ball pool and soft slide. The design and fit-out of the Centre was split between special needs company Mike Ayres Design and Clarity in Sound, Light and Vision Ltd, experts in the provision of sensory environments for education.


“Designs for the Pendragon Centre began almost two years ago”, commented Stuart Graham, managing director for Clarity. “We’d worked with Mark Hildred, an independent Sensory Consultant on a number of other projects and we were honoured when he approached us to make a proposal for this amazing Centre”.


“After a number of consultation meetings our technical team commenced working on-site in March 2016 for approximately three weeks, returning in June just a few weeks prior to the opening, to fine-tune, commission and handover the system”, added Graham.


“Alongside the projection, lighting and AV systems, we used a Cloud DCM-1 Digital Zone Mixer to control the audio across seven separate zones within the centre including the Atrium, Sensory, Reception and Studio areas”.


A Cloud PM-8SA paging microphone is included within the system design, allowing each audio zone to be paged individually, currently across all seven zones. Capacity exists within the current configuration for an additional outside zone of audio and paging to be added in the future, if required.


A number of audio sources including CD/media player and internet audio via a local PC are selectable in each zone via Cloud CDR-1 remote volume/selection panels and local Cloud LE-1 remote wall input plates allow the connection of additional audio sources in the Atrium, Reception, Sensory and Quiet Rooms.


Audio from the digital zone-mixer is distributed to a Cloud CX-A850 eight channel amplifier fitted with 100V output transformers which in turn is connected to number of Bose Freespace 3 satellite and bass loudspeaker in the atrium and a number of Bose Freespace 16 loudspeakers in other zones.


“The Cloud DCM-1 gives us the flexibility to provide localised remote control and input facilities positioned exactly where they are needed as well as a portable device i.e.iPad control option, which the staff at the centre are very happy with, as the learning curve is reduced due to familiarity with the device”, summarised Graham.


In addition to the audio system Clarity in Sound, Light and Vision Ltd also installed a comprehensive LED wall and ceiling colour wash system using a number of Chauvet HEX12 LED lighting Pars and a number of Pulsar colour changing LED hanging spheres. The lighting fixtures were fitted to a bespoke truss support system, pre-wired with DMX lighting outputs and power sockets whilst a Panasonic 730Z 7,000 lumen projector with remote controlled short throw lens  was also installed to provide moving  projection images and light on a 3m wide surface.


Mark Mildred commented “What stood out about the proposal from Clarity was the way they addressed the whole site audio requirements, rather than just the sensory spaces. The Cloud system has provided much greater flexibility than we thought would be possible within the budget we had available. The Centre staff can easily route audio and control volumes locally with the minimum of training, providing many more opportunities for the use of sound across the centre.”

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