A charity which helps families with disabled children will open a permanent centre in Crawley next year.
The Springboard Project has a well-established centre in Horsham where respite activities are held daily for children and young people with physical or learning disabilities.
Although it has held some weekend and evening respite in the Manor Green Primary School in Ifield it has to make arrangements to use the school outside school hours. Many families travel to Horsham to use the centre there.
Now the charity is renovating the former doctors’ surgery in Stagelands, Langley Green, to provide a centre for Crawley to open next spring.
Su Parrish, service delivery manager for Crawley, said: “I’m looking forward to being able to offer the service to families who come over to Horsham from Crawley on their doorsteps.
“We think we are quite unique in that they don’t need to book in a session or activity and it’s not just disabled children. We have an inclusive environment. Disabled children get to play alongside children without disabilities. It raises awareness of all types of disability and needs.”
The charity has two groups, Grasshoppers for five to 12 year olds and Buddies for young people up to the age of 18. For the older children they organise activities in the community such as ordering food in a cafe, bowling or going to the cinema.
Anna Banton, from Worth, has two sons, aged eight and seven, who are both autistic.
She said: “It’s made a huge difference. It was the first place they were accepted how they are. You don’t have to make apologies for who they are. Opening in Crawley will mean we will have somewhere local to go after school and in the holidays.”
Sam Colville’s eight-year-old son Josh has severe autism. She said: “It’s going to be great. We will be able to use it more often because we’re only round the corner.
“They run Saturday club and holiday clubs. It’s like respite. They will take them for a few hours so the families can go off to do other things. They are so good, you are not worried about them.”