Well-known actor and Only Fools and Horses Star, Paul Barber, recently opened a new Sensory Room at St Fillans Care Home, alongside the Mayor of Colchester, Lesley Scott-Boutell. 

The sensory room was created to provide a dedicated space where the people living in the care home could rest and relax. The room would also provide the lifestyle team with an alternative setting to host activities that benefit from multisensory stimulation and aid in dementia care, as multisensory spaces can support reminiscence therapy. 

Construction of the sensory room began after a generous donation was received from an anonymous benefactor who wanted to support the home to create this new space for the people who live there. It was a lovely gesture that has opened new doors for the people who live at St Fillans and the team is forever grateful. 

The team decided to merge the sensory room with the theme of nature, as people love spending time outside, admiring the sights and sounds of wildlife, so this space could also serve as a place people could go to get a sense of the outdoors during the colder, wetter months or as an accessible alternative for people with limited mobility. 

Before long, the sensory room was taking shape. A full woodland mural was painted on the walls, and a colourful sky painting was added to the ceiling which transformed the whole space. 

Lifestyle Coordinator, Grant, who oversaw the project from start to finish, wanted to ensure the opening of the ‘Fillans’ Forest’ was memorable so he began to think about who he would like to cut the ribbon and officially open the space. 

He chose to reach out to Only Fools and Horses star, Paul Barber, as the legendary show is familiar to the people who live and work at St Fillans and is still a show they enjoy watching to this day. When Paul’s team responded to say he would be happy to attend the opening event and cut the ribbon, Grant was delighted, as he knew how much of a surprise this would be to the people living at St Fillans. Grant also reached out to the Mayor of Colchester, Lesley Scott-Boutell to see if she would like to join the opening and was delighted when she accepted the invitation. 

This week, the Fillans Forest was officially opened! Everyone was star-struck when Paul arrived! Paul was a well-known face on television during their younger years, so meeting him in person was a dream come true. 

Paul took the time to meet everyone who wanted to and spoke about his time on the hit TV series. Paul was welcoming and friendly, and his presence made the day memorable for all. 

A countdown ensued as Paul and Councillor Lesley cut the ribbon, revealing the magical forest sensory room. 

“I was delighted to accept your kind invitation having grown up in St Mark Drive and knowing the area. When I entered the Sensory Room, I realised that the team had delivered everything that they aimed to do,” said Councillor Lesley Scott-Boutell. 

“They have brought the outdoors in and there is a feeling of peace when visiting the room. I also love the thought that has gone into the design making it inclusive and accessible to all. That is a matter close to my heart. Huge congratulations to all who played a part in delivering this wonderful facility” continued the Councillor. 

Paul also shared his views about the sensory room, saying, “This room, is fantastic – I could move in here. It is peaceful and lovely, with lovely lights and lovely pictures. To me, it is great and its exactly what people need – security, comfort, and lots of colour.” 

If you would like to visit the sensory room at St Fillans and see the outcome of this project for yourself, please email info@excelcareholdings.com.