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'We need more for disabled children' Appeal after sensory room lost.

Byline: Julia McWatt

A DISAPPOINTED mum has called for more play facilities for disabled children in the city after a sensory room was removed from a popular soft play centre.

Hayley Norris used to regularly take her disabled son Jonah to Jump in Llanishen, where he enjoyed using the sensory room.

But Hayley said she was shocked to discover that the sensory unit, which featured colourful lights and interactive equipment, was no longer there.

The 38-year-old mum of three from Rhiwbina, Cardiff, says she felt frustrated as there are not many local facilities suitable for Jonah, who has not had a full diagnosis of his condition. "The play centre used to have a nice sensory room and a lot of mums used to meet up there," she added. "Then we went down there one day and it wasn't there. They had got rid of it and there was a private nursery there.

"The facilitywas quite popular with childminders and respite carers."

Hayley added that she feels she can no longer take any of her other children to the privately-run soft play centre as it would be unfair to Jonah.

She added: "There are a very limited number of places for children who are not able to walk. I appreciate they have to make money but I think it should be accessible to all children - able bodied and disabled."

Mark Davies, group operations manager at Jump, said they removed the sensory room to make space for the private nursery for the viability of the company, but insisted the centre was suitable for disabled children.

"We were looking at ways to sustain the business and one of these ways was a nursery room," he said.

"Unfortunately, we had to remove the sensory room for this. We now have options to develop party rooms and we are considering putting a sensory room back in, but I can't make that full commitment at the moment. "Our facilities can be used by disabled children and we are supportive of this - blue badge holders can come for free, everything is on one level and we have good relationships with autism charities and local schools."


* Hayley Norris says more facilities are needed for disabled children, like her son Jonah, after the closure of the sensory room at Jump in Llanishen, Cardiff PICTURE: Andrew James [umlaut]
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 10, 2012
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