State-of-the-Art Inclusive Leisure Facility

We’re aiming to build a state-of-the-art inclusive leisure facility for the 58,000 disabled children and young people (0-25 yrs old) who live in Bristol and the surrounding counties. We’ve done a lot of thinking about what is required.  Read on to share our philosophy and find out more.

Here is our vision for the UK’s first, fully inclusive leisure facility which will cater for the play, exercise and social needs of children and young people form 0-25 years old with every ability and disability. Many thanks to Stride Treglown and Helen Sampson for this amazing film.

Fitness Through Play

The World Health Organisation recommends children do a minimum of one hour of activity per day to stay healthy. The current national provision of leisure facilities doesn’t sufficiently support children and young people with disabilities to achieve this.

Gympanzees provides facilities for our children to exercise safely whilst having fun. The rooms and facilities provided at the Gympanzees Leisure Facility include:

  • Indoor Playground
  • Sensory Room
  • Soft Play
  • Trampoline Room
  • Music Room
  • Gym with Specialist equipment
  • Outside Playground
  • Exercise studios for disability yoga/ martial arts etc


Physical Benefits

  • Improves general health
    Increases strength and mobility
  • Improve gross and fine motor skills
  • Reduces pain and obesity
    Reduces constipation
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves lung and heart health
  • Increases life expectancy
  • Controls or slows progression of chronic disease

Other Benefits

  • Social and psychological benefits from making friends and playing with others
  • Improved cognition
  • A reduction in challenging behaviours
  • An increased release of endorphins helps with mental health problems

Inclusive Design

80% of disabled children and young people can’t access local clubs, such as gymnastics or Brownies.

66% of these said it was because their special needs weren’t met.

Facilities have been designed by therapists, parents and disabled children, and key features include:

  • Hoists to enable non-mobile children to access all facilities
  • Specialist toilet amenities that include hoists and adult sized changing beds
  • Cleanliness is essential for our children’s health.
  • We will be scrupulous with cleaning and provide anti-bacterial materials where appropriate, and hand wipes/ washes available at all doors
  • State-of-the-art technology including interactive, immersive sound and visual equipment, hearing loops and programmable lighting to enhance our children’s experience
  • We have created separate rooms, and will keep the capacity to levels that ensure noise and sensory needs are met
  • Our café sits as a central hub, surrounded by the activity rooms and removing the needs for ‘institutional’ corridors
  • And much more…….

Monkeying Around Together

84% of children with disabilities have gone without leisure or days out in the last year.

92% of parents of children with complex needs felt that their child didn’t have the same opportunities to play as their non-disabled peers.

Every child is ABLE. We give them the tools to be so.

Gympanzees will:

  • We offer time slots for different needs, so all children gain from an appropriate environment
  • Our children have the opportunity to play with others like them, if they want to
  • Our children and their non-disabled siblings can play together throughout the facility
  • Birthday parties are tailored to the child, their families and friends’ needs

Putting an End to Isolation

65% of parents feel isolated frequently, or all of the time.

72% of families experience mental ill-health due to isolation.


  • Will have a safe haven for families to meet others in the same situation
    counselling services for parents and children
  • An information hub detailing the available support across Bristol and the South-West.
  • We are collaborating with other charities and services to bring a variety of services under one roof
  • Facilitating parent and carer support groups

Conscientious Professionals

We are problem solvers with a can-do attitude

  • All of our staff are highly trained and understand our children’s specialist needs
  • We recognise the different feeding needs of our children and provide a café and appropriate food storage and heating facilities for those who need them
  • Our car park is designed to meet the needs of our customers and our site has been chosen for it’s transport links and easy motorway access
  • Concessions are available to low income families – for both entrance fees and therapies
  • We provide work experience for adults with learning difficulties – promoting them as role models

We provide access to a range of necessary services including:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Cranial Osteopathy
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Nutritional Therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Counselling for all

Every child is a Gympanzee!

Helen Sampson-3594