STAFF at a Clacks-based autism care centre are fundraising to build a bespoke sensory room for their service users.

The Chrysalis site in Clackmannan provides care for individuals with autism and helps them to access community activities and develop independent living skills.

There is said to be a strong focus on developing communication which includes using the latest technology.

For many people suffering from autism, everyday sights and sounds can be a source of significant distress.

Many withdraw from interacting with others as a result, but can often find solace in specially-designed sensory rooms where external noise can be restricted or blocked out.

With that in mind, Chrysalis staff will be running a 5k later this month as part of a wider fundraising campaign to convert one of the rooms at the centre into a safe space for service users.

Laura Willocks, senior autism practitioner, will join fellow team members Lindsay, Linzi, Mandy, Claire, Hayley, Lisa, Sandie-Leigh, Siobhan on the Color me Rad run in Glasgow on May 13.

If they can raise the money need, they will be able to provide as lights, soft mats and flooring, as well as bubble tubes, plastic mirrors, sound boards, and bean bags.

Laura told the Advertiser: "It can be hard to fundraise for something like this, because a lot of people don't really understand the benefits of a sensory room.

"People with autism need different kinds of stimuli, and having that can make them happy or help them to block out a lot of things.

"They use a technique called stimming where they put their hands on their ears, rock back and forth and make their own noise to block sound out. That's how they decide what noise comes to them.

"It could be birds tweeting and airplanes overhead – things that we maybe don't really notice – that can really annoy them.

"So a sensory room gives them a place where they can hear and see what they want to hear and see. It would remove that unpredictability which can really upset them.

"It's about giving them control over things they still can have control over, and would make a massive difference."

The team need around £11,000 in total to fund the project, but have been able to raise around £2,000 so far.

Clackmannan Bowling Club donated £800 following a successful charity night in the style of The Voice, while Central Painters also handed over £100.

Some parents from the unit have also helped out, while a friend of Laura's ran the Alloa Half Marathon to raise funds, which were then topped up by his employer.

Laura, 24, added: "We're getting there slowly and have loads of grants going out – but we're hoping people can help us.

"The staff team are absolutely brilliant. I've asked them to do a lot with the fundraising and they've been really great.

"They're always coming up with ideas about what we can do to raise money."

To help with the Scottish Autism team's fundraising efforts, visit