Proving Our Concept

We set up pop-up Gympanzees centres in the Summer holidays of 2018 and Easter and Summer holidays of 2019 to provide a much-needed service to our visitors and prove our concept.

These were smaller versions of the main centre, including a gym, soft playroom, music room, two sensory rooms, a trampoline room, indoor playground (sensory integration room), outdoor playground and a sociable café. Sessions were classified according to physical and sensory needs so that children were in a physical and sensory environment that suited them.

We saw almost 8000 visitors over the 58 days that the Pop Up was open, with some staying overnight in hotels to visit two days in a row and others making a 5 hour round trip for their 1.5-hour session.

Here are some of the highlights: 

  • A 5-year-old who slept through the night for the first time after her session
  •  Two 3-year-old boys who had their first-ever laugh
  • A 6-year-old who took off her coat and scarf in public for the first time
  • An 8-year-old who ate up in public for the first time
  • A 16-year-old who refused any form of sport at home and school but rowed a kilometre on the rowing machine
  • A 14-year-old who built the confidence at our gym and now goes to a mainstream gym with a personal trainer
  • A 10-year-old who has never exercised who asked to replace his dining room table for a static bike as he enjoyed it so much at the Pop Up
  • A 9-year-old who held his head up on his own for 10 minutes for the first time
  • 57 children and young people who were able to walk in our specialist equipment for the first time

The Pop Ups will be back! 

As we work on our main appeal – find out more about the Project Home campaign – we will continue to run our Pop Ups for families. The next Pop Up will take place in Spring 2022.

The Pop Ups are fully inclusive, with several hoists, appropriate changing facilities and easy access to all the areas. The Pop Ups have been designed in collaboration with therapists, specialist teachers, specialist architects, service users, RNIB, Bristol Sensory Impairment Team and others to ensure they are fully inclusive and accessible.

Different Session Types

We run five different sessions which meet the needs of  children  and young people with all different abilities and disabilities – ensuring we are truly inclusive: 

  1. Jungle sessions: For any child with any disability and their siblings and friends. 
  2. Butterfly sessions: For more fragile and non-mobile children 
  3. Leopard sessions: Quieter sessions for those with sensory needs 
  4. Gorilla Sessions: For those with more challenging behaviours.
  5. Safari sessions: For anyone. 

Explore the different sessions

“There is a difference between your children being tolerated and celebrated, but here it is so clear they are celebrated.”
- Parent from Bristol.