Aims and Objectives of Sensing Friends

Building Bridges Between Young Individuals Dealing With Sensory Needs, Their Peers and the Community.

Our work focuses on building stronger more meaningful friendships between young people experiencing sensory issues and the social/ community barriers that can come with this.

We support these young people experiencing life through different sensory experiences and their peers to form deeper, more meaningful connections with each other. The young people we support may have a physical sensory need, such as a visual or hearing impairment, a neurological sensory need such as ADHD, ASD or HSP or an emotional sensory need such as PTSD or general anxiety.
We build on self confidence, self esteem and break down barriers that stem from negative stereotyping.

Sensing Friends has been running since April 2017.

Starting in January 2020, we are currently running a three year community friendship project, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. We run our sessions from Plot 22, in Hove.

The community friendship project includes;

Creative Workshop Group

Circle Of Friendship


Drop-in Sessions

And Community Open Days

The peer group workshops have the exciting theme of The Elements; Earth, Air, Fire and Water. This theme runs creatively through each of these events. Our emphasis is on building stronger friendships between the young participants.

The Big Issue

Young people who experience different sensory experiences and are living with ongoing sensory needs, need to be able to meet other children who have the same issues, as well as having the chance to develop friendships others who are not having to navigate the world with a sensory difference. We also support sensory typical peers to gain a clear understanding, empathy and regard for those who are different to them in order to get past stereotyping on an unconscious, hidden level.

Some young  people dealing with sensory needs have found a caring supportive community which is vital for developing their positive sense of self. There are also many young people who have not found this support and live their lives feeling alone and isolated.

Many young people with sensory needs  spend much of their social time adapting to a world that is geared up for sensory typical people. The majority of activities and social stimulation is often predominantly biased towards hearing, vision or neuro typical experiences.

Lack of equal access to things others take for granted often means young people with sensory needs end up withdrawing from proper integration into the everyday world.

Embracing Diversity

Sensing Friends can create seeds for young people to accept each other beyond their immediate differences. Many of the experiences blind, partially sighted and sighted children experience can be shared and embraced together. These shared experiences pave the way for warm social connections and contributes to early social emotional security.

Our mission is to make a positive impact on these young people’s social emotional well being – both in the present and for the remainder of their lives. Sensing Friends does this by creating more emotionally rewarding socially inclusive communities through connections formed at Sensing Friends, which then ripples onwards to affect their long term future.

Child Lead Ethos

We support these young people by approaching and being with them in a person centred way. By putting these young people first and seeing their world through their perspective, we can understand, share experiences, encourage and facilitate necessary emotional change in a way that is understood by these young people.

Much of our work is based around Carl Rogers Core Condition, Empathy, Congruence and Unconditional Positive Regard.


When we empathise we see and try to experience, with all the feelings, the other persons view of life. We can then respond more emotionally supportively to that person.


When we are congruent we are honest with ourselves and others. This does not mean just saying what we think but rather acting in a very genuine way.

Unconditional Positive Regard

When we offer Unconditional Positive Regard we refrain from judging others or providing conditions of worth. We offer instead acceptance of the person as being valid and important despite any differences we have from them.

Sensing Friends both provides the core conditions and models them for the young service users we support.

Safe Enriching Space

The emotional support we offer is run by experienced trained counsellors, social workers, horticultural therapists, creative art play workers and musicians who elicit enriching external resources and expertise, such as the use of nature, music and creative arts.

Most of this warm support is provided in a natural eco-therapeutic environment, within a calm, safe countryside woodland setting. We provide advice, peer group support and one to one support for young people dealing with these emotional issues.