Parents of any disabled child will recognise instantly the special opportunity offered by Thomley Activity Centre. From the moment you arrive, and receive a friendly welcome, you’ll know that your children will have a fun day and that you’ll be able to relax.
This centre has been designed with the needs of all children in mind. First-time visitors are shown around the numerous activity rooms, which are located inside a series of attractive red brick buildings, positioned around a courtyard. Here, children – regardless of any physical or learning disabilities – can create music, paint, read and engage in soft and messy play. Outdoors, in the safe, enclosed, seven-acre play space, children can spin on a wheelchair accessible roundabout, pedal around the one-kilometre track, bash the outdoor chimes and gongs, fly down the basket-seated zipwire and swing to their heart’s content on the flat swings, bucket swings and bed swings. There’s a dedicated facility for teenagers (usually available for use by all children, 0–19, but call to check), including a mini-gym, vocational skills/hobby area and a den, with an Xbox and Wii.
The activity centre specially reserves some days for different groups including toddlers, teenagers and schools and also organises quiet days – so it is important to check the website to see when a visit would be most suitable, and book ahead. In general, on Saturdays and during school holidays, the centre is open to all disabled children and their friends and family. There is plenty of parking outside the centre – designated spaces for wheelchair users are on the left as you approach. There are a number of adapted toilets and a changing area, including a Changing Places facility in the teenagers’ area. Almost the whole site is wheelchair accessible, and members of the disability-aware team are swift to point out any obstacles and suggest alternative routes.
Food & drink: There isn’t a café at Thomley Activity Centre, but there is a well-equipped, height-adjustable kitchen where you can prepare your own food, plus seating areas for picnics inside and out. Tea, coffee and snacks are available in the kitchen in return for a small donation.