In 2015, Heaton Park Synagogue invested in new LED light fittings to make it more accessible for autistic members. The previous fluorescent lighting in place around the front of the ladies’ gallery, and overlooking the men’s’ section, was proving particularly irritating for those members who have a high sensitivity to the flicker and hum the lights produced.
Delamere Charitable Trust funded the improved lighting following a request from Jeremy Ross of JADDS, the parent support group for children with special educational needs. Mr Ross reported that, in the first week of the new lighting, JADDS received very positive reports. “In fact, one particular child who before couldn’t seem to cope with being in the main Shul for very long was not only in Shul for about half the service, but even opened the Ark and then accompanied other children on the Bimah for Adon Alom. Overall anxiety levels have been noticeably lowered by this project.”
Speaking for Delamere, Chairman Malcolm Joels explained that Delamere’s trustees were very pleased to pay for the new lighting at Heaton Park Shul knowing that a number of autistic young people, including students from Langdon College, have been made particularly welcome there on a regular basis.