A NEW trampoline has given rebound sessions for disabled children a lift.
The equipment, provided by West Sussex County Council’s Short Breaks initiative, was launched at Southwick Leisure Centre on Friday.
Trampoline rebound therapy sessions have been running at the Old Barn Way centre for about two years.
Coach Mandy Hollick said the new trampoline had much better bounce and it meant more children could be helped.
She added: “The sessions promote wellbeing and strength, and provide a social setting for them to meet, communicate and build friendships.
“Trampolining improves their confidence and co-ordination, along with having a positive impact on their general fitness.
“The new equipment will help to ensure every child who comes to a rebound session has fun and will dramatically improve everyone’s experience.”
Rebound is for children with disabilities and additional needs, such as autism and learning difficulties.
Lydia Beattie, 14, from Shoreham, has been part of rebound therapy since it started at Southwick.
Mum Tina Beattie said: “It has given her independence and she absolutely loves it. It helps with her concentration and with her behaviour, as she comes home calmer.”
Lydia has a lot of learning difficulties, curvature of the spine and one of her legs is shorter than the other.
Mrs Beattie said the sessions had also helped her with other things, such as counting.
Short Breaks engagement officer Lyn Aaron-Ferrigno and commissioning manager Michael Rhodes-Kubiak were at the launch to see the trampoline in action.
Lyn’s daughter, Zoe Ferrigno, ten, from Worthing, has cerebral palsy four-limb disorder and Mandy demonstrated how rebound therapy helped her.
“People think of trampolining as just bouncing but it is not,” she explained. “They don’t have to be bouncing, they can just lay there and we can walk around them.
“Just that gentle movement can help open up their digestive tract and it helps with core stability. In the wheelchair, they are hunched over.”
Mandy, who has been trampolining for 22 years and took extra training for the rebound sessions, said the new trampoline had a better bounce, so it was much easier to keep the rhythm going for children like Zoe.
The Short Breaks initiative, which has been running across the trust’s three West Sussex sites for three years, gives disabled children and their families the opportunity to try out new activities, such as trampolining and multi-sensory sessions.
Lyn said: “It is great to have this support. It means children with disabilities can do things with their siblings.”
Trampoline rebound therapy sessions run at Southwick Leisure Centre every Wednesday and Friday afternoon, and cost £3.50 for members, £4.50 for non-members. Classes are open to children aged between three and 18 who have disabilities or additional needs and live in West Sussex.
A drop-in session for children wishing to try out rebound therapy will be held on Thursday, April 17, between 9.30am and 11.30am.