Gympanzees Project Home

Why it's Needed

There are 66,000 children and young people with disabilities living within an hour of Bristol. 77% of them cannot access regular leisure facilities, so can’t play, exercise or socialise in the same ways as their peers. {1}

Our world class facility, which will be the first of its kind in the UK, will bring everything under one roof for children and young people with disabilities and their families.

Gympanzees can we be your charity of the year

Our plan has always been to build for better and create a home for Gympanzees.

We have had fantastic feedback from our services to date, but families crucially deserve more than temporary Pop Ups and remote support; they need a place they can trust and rely upon all year round that is welcoming, safe, fun and supports all of their health and well-being needs.
Active sensory at Accessible soft play centre
Gympanzees Interact
Gympanzees Be Social
Gympanzees Be Calm
Gympanzees Bounce
Gympanzees Swing
Gympanzees Play
Gympanzees Get Active
Syndrome needs for play and exercise and having fun at inclusive leisure centre Gympanzees

Putting an End to Isolation

65% of families with disabled children report feeling isolated frequently or all of the time. {2}

72% of parents with a disabled child suffer mental health issues as a result of isolation. {2}

Almost 9 out of 10 parents reported some level of anxiety. {3}

Disabled children are twice as likely to be lonely compared to their non-disabled peers (72% vs 36%). They are more likely to feel they have no one to talk to, feel left out, and to feel alone. {4}

“If Gympanzees opened all year round, we would be there almost every day. My son struggles in school, an outlet like this would be life-changing. We could meet up with other families and friends who have children with a range of different disabilities and know there was something for everyone.”
Shellbey
Parent of a six-year-old from Melksham, Wiltshire
“It would be incredible to have a permanent facility where different needs are met. We can’t go to the cinema or the park because it can be overwhelming. Having somewhere we can go and bring siblings along would be make such a difference to us.”
Omaya
Parent of five-year-old from Bristol

Every child is ABLE

Children living with a disability want more understanding and acceptance, more choice of activities, more motivation and encouragement. {5}

One third of disabled children take part in less than 30 minutes of sport and physical activity per day. {4}

Improving Mental Health

Exercise improves the psychological well-being of people with learning difficulties such as reduced anxiety, {6} increased self-esteem and improved mood. {7} There is an association between higher reported levels of physical activity and increased quality of life. {8}

“I would love a space that was inclusive and accessible for my children. I’d even sign them up to a monthly membership if it was on offer.”
Ella
Parent of a eight-year-old and five-year-old from Weston-Super-Mare
“It would be a lifeline. Somewhere he could go and be himself. I’ve seen him become more relaxed every time we visit. We’d love somewhere like this permanently, somewhere accessible, cost-effective for families and a safe space.”
Accessible soft play centre
Gill
Parent of a five-year-old from Bristol

“It was a real lifeline at a challenging time. It helped me understand R’s frustration and consider ways I could help provide the stimulation he was craving. The session was inspiring, I learnt so much…I was given suggestions specific to him that really changed our daily routine and the way we play. It was also so nice to be able to virtually meet other parents many who shared similar challenges to us and were also able to provide suggestions and support for one another. It was such a positive experience and I am so thankful for the work Gympanzees do and the difference it has made on our lives.”

References

{1} Politics Home, (2014) ‘Mumsnet parents: Our disabled children want to play, but negative attitudes are holding them back’

{2} Contact a Family, 2012, Forgotten Families – The impact of isolation on families with disabled children across the UK.

{3} Lunt, C. (2021) ‘The Loneliest Lockdown: The Impact of the Pandemic on the Families of the Disabled Children, thier Parents and Siblings. 

{4} Activity Alliance, 2020, My Active Future: Including every child

{5} Powrie, B, (2020) ‘The meaning of leisure to children and young people with significant physical disabilities: Implications for optimising participation’, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 83 (2): pp. 67-77.

{6} Carraro, A., Gobbi, E. (2012) ‘Effects of an exercise programme on anxiety in adults with intellectual disabilities’, Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33 (4), pp. 1221-1226.

{7} Vogt, T., Schneider, S., Abeln, Vera., Anneken, V., Struder,H. (2012) ‘Exercise, mood and cognitive performance in intellectual disability- A neurophysiological approach’, Behavioural brain research, 226: pp. 473-80.

{8} Blick, RN et al. (2015) Effects of declared levels of physical activity on quality of life on individuals with intellectual disabilities. Research Developmental Disabilities, 33(4),pp. 1221-1226.