Mencap Liverpool wins top accolade for wildflower project

L-R: Jonty Rix (representing the Rix Centre), Sarah Jones (Mencap Liverpool Chief Executive), Ticky Lowe (Project Co-ordinator) and Marcus Weisen (Director of the Jodi Mattes Trust)

Our exciting “Touch Pods” project, which is helping people explore the wonderful world of wildflowers using digital technologies, has scooped a prestigious national award!

Last week, we were presented with a UK Jodi Award for promoting accessible digital culture at a special ceremony in Swansea.

Managed by ‘Access to Heritage’, the project saw young people and adults with a learning disability work alongside artists Naomi Kendrick, Mai Thomas and Ross Dalziel to recreate the beauty and science of wildflower seeds.

After a busy 18-month period of consultation, three brightly-coloured ‘Touch Pods’ were designed, inspired by the textures found on wildflower seeds. The vibrant pods – one fluffy, one with craters and one with ridges – use innovative digital technology ‘Arduino’. When touched the pods make sounds which relate to their texture – and this promotes exploration and understanding.

Ticky Lowe, Project Co-ordinator for Access to Heritage, said: “We were absolutely delighted to win such a prestigious award and to have our Touch Pods recognised at a national level. A lot of hard work and creativity went into developing these fun and engaging resources for the whole Merseyside community to enjoy.”

Sarah Jones, Chief Executive for Mencap Liverpool added: “The Touch Pods are a brilliant example of how people with a learning disability can help make the world easier to understand for everyone.”

The Touch pods will go on public display at the National Wildflower Centre, in Knowsley, in March 2012.  They will also be available on loan to schools and day centres from summer 2012.

The pods are the product of “Get Closer to Wildflower Seeds”, an Access to Heritage project. You can follow each stage of this award-winning project by visiting the blog at  www.getclosertowildflowerseeds.blogspot.com

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