Gympanzees activities centre wins award

October 30 2019

The Bristol social enterprise Gympanzees has been named as winner of the world award for Cerebral Palsy Quality of Life.
Gympanzees' pop-up facilities were open in Kingsweston in the school holidays and provide play, exercise and friendship, and by doing so, improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people with any ability and disability. There have been multiple social benefits including a three-year-old who had his first laugh and volunteer staffing roles being taken up by adults with Cerebral Palsy.
These centres allow children and young people with any disability, including Cerebral Palsy to get active, have fun and meet others in a safe and understanding environment.
Gympanzees was created by Stephanie Wheen, a physiotherapist who supports disabled children in Bristol.
Their first pop-up was held in the summer of 2018 and since then, they have facilitated two further pop-ups with almost 4,000 visitors over the collective 58 days, some visitors making a five-hour round trip for a one and a half hour session.
Winning this award reflects the improvements in quality of life that they have seen in their visitors. There have been incredible health benefits including over 50 children using an Innowalk machine to experience a weight-bearing standing stance and ‘walking’ for the first time, one six year old taking their first independent steps and many children enjoying the pleasure of playing in public for the first time.
Cerebral Palsy is a disability caused by brain damage before or during birth and affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. This means that alongside limited movement, breathing, bladder and bowel control, eating and talking can all be affected. CP is an umbrella term, which encompasses individuals with mild disabilities such as a slight limp, through to those relying on a ventilator for breathing.
World Cerebral Palsy Day is an organisation that celebrates and champions those with Cerebral Palsy alongside their families and communities that support them. They host worldwide awards including the Quality of Life Award which was awarded to Gympanzees.
Gympanzees plan to build the UK’s first, fully inclusive leisure facility in Bristol, and hope to build further centres around the UK.