Dundee Science Centre has undergone a £2.1 million transformation during lockdown.
The popular centre now provides more features for people with additional needs, including sensory zones, interactive exhibitions and new seating and lighting.
A number of local assisted needs groups helped design the work, which has also seen the entire ground floor redeveloped with brand new exhibitions and facilities.
Now, as the science centre prepares to reopen to the public on June 26, the groups involved have had a sneak peek at the results.
And they have given it a huge thumbs up, describing it as welcoming and accessible with a calm, peaceful feel.
Other new features include an under-seven’s area, accessible toilets and a new cafe.
Groups from Tutti LED (Learn, Enable, Design), an advocate group, created an advisory panel for the refurbishment programme, which they have called CONNECT.
Groups represented include Advocating Together, Capability Scotland, Dundee and Angus ADHD Support Group, Dundee Voluntary Action – Mental Health, PAMIS, Scottish Autism, Tayside Deaf Hub and Blind Society.
As part of a sneak preview, members from the panel groups were brought along to the Science Centre to see the changes.
They gave views on the refurbishment of the sensory room, changing places toilet, new Café Create and various piece of accessibility equipment and resources.
They also explored inclusive communication, wheelchair accessibility, parking and reception areas, and the role that seating, lighting, exhibits, and sound can play in the overall visitor experience.
Advice from the groups has influenced staff training, to insure they are able to provide positive experiences to all visitors.
Gillian Kelly an advocacy worker for Advocating Together, said: “The group really enjoyed their visit to Dundee Science Centre and it was great to see what they had done to make the attraction accessible and so welcoming for people, including the individuals we support.
“Some of the group who visited commented on the sensory room, saying it gives the place a calm and peaceful feel.
“Others commented on how spacious the room was for wheelchair users in particular.
“Overall, our group were very impressed with the layout of the ground floor and how smart it was.
“One member in particular, who has worked closely with the CONNECT project on one of the designs, felt it was great to see his ideas come to life.”
‘Passionate about being accessible’
Rebecca Duncan, Head of Development, commented, “CONNECT aims to strengthen Dundee Science Centre’s position within the city’s tourism, education and cultural fabric.
“Because we are passionate about being accessible and inclusive, we want everyone to feel welcome.
“By building on the relationships we have been cultivating within our communities for over 20 years, we decided to drill down to the needs and wishes of these groups, ensuring that our exhibits, environments and programmes reflect their needs, and make the centre a relevant and welcoming place to visit and enjoy. It’s fantastic to hear their feedback as we prepare to re-open.”
The Science Centre also recently won a Green Tourism award, after installing 116 solar panels – creating enough energy to power the entire facility.
It is now also fully lit by energy-efficient LED lighting including motion-activated, energy-saving lights.
Visitors will also learn about climate change through a new headline exhibition and be encouraged to travel around the city by electric bike, with 16 hire bikes to be positioned on the front Piazza.
The Science Centre will reopen to the public on June 26.
For more information, telephone (01382) 228800 or visit www.dundeesciencecentre.org.uk.